LAURINBURG — Fans weren’t at all surprised to see the Fighting Scots rely heavily on the run game in their 41-7 victory over South View. What they weren’t expecting was eight different players to carry the ball throughout the game.
And that wasn’t even all of them.
“We have a lot of guys who can run the football.” said coach Richard Bailey. “It’s a blessing. Really we didn’t even run Donta (Green) and I feel bad. But he was playing defense the whole time, so I didn’t want to wear him out. We just have to continue to get better at blocking because we’re going to be able to run the football against just about anybody.”
Without adding senior Donta Green to the mix, the Fighting Scots had carries from Zamir White, Syheam McQueen, Markel White, Khalil Smith, Sergio Gibson, Alston Smith, Christian Gibson and Davon Ratliffe.
Those eight players combined for a total of 294 yards off 44 carries.
Coach Bailey had talked last week on his radio show that fans would see the Scots spreading out the workload in the backfield this season — but no one was prepared for eight different rushers.
Despite having fewer carries, White still led the Scots in rushing with 17 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns. White also had an 89 yards kick return for a touchdown.
“Zamir had a little bit of a thigh bruise, I hate that he ended up a little short of 100 yards after a kick off return for a touchdown,” said Bailey. “That’s the first time he’s been under 100 yards in 30 games, but he still had a great night.”
The Scots star running back finished last season with 11 of the team’s 12 games with 100 or more yards.
The second leading rusher for the Scots on Friday night was McQueen, known as Smiley, who had seven carries for 88 yards, a touchdown and ran in the two-point conversion. McQueen longest run of the game was a 42-yard scamper, which also led the team with the longest rush from scrimmage.
Smith was the next rusher with six carries for 36 yards. The junior also had a 26-yard kick off return. Gibson had four carries for 27 yards, along with three completions for 42 yards and one touchdown.
Only throwing three passes is just what the Scots do because according to Bailey, the senior quarterback is more of a runner than a passer.
“We’re not going to drop back and throw the ball 30 times — not with the personnel we have now,” he said. “Right now we have a running quarterback that manages the game for us and throws the ball effectively enough for us to win games. We’re going to try and throw a couple of quick passes and get some play action and maybe hit a big play or two but that’s sort of our identity.”
Gibson also had a key block during one of Alston Smith’s runs, which Bailey was excited to take a look at on film.
“I can’t wait to watch film, see that and praise him or it because that’s the little things,” said Bailey. “That’s what Sergio is, he’s no pretty boy. He’s a team guy.”
Having a team mentality is something Bailey says this year’s team has down — they still need to work on their blocking.
“We got a lot of yards despite some poor blocking,” he said. “Our running backs ran hard — all of them. I thought it was great Khalil had one of the great blocks on the kick off return for Zamir. All those running backs and quarterbacks they love each other and are very unselfish.”
The other five rushers for the Scots combined for 85 yards on 18 carries.
The Scots will host Independence this Friday, Aug. 26 for their home opener. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.