LAURINBURG — The Scotland football team opens the regular season inside the friendly confines of Pate Stadium, but home-field advantage will be short lived for the Scots during the early part of their schedule.
Scotland will host South View in the first game of the year, then hit the road for five of their next seven, including a titanic showdown with perennial contender Independence in Charlotte on Aug. 28.
In all, the Scots will play five home games and six away contests with a slate that is back-loaded with Southeastern Conference games in Laurinburg.
Last year, Scotland opened the year away from home in their first two games, defeating South View and Jack Britt in consecutive trips to Hope Mills before returning to Pate Stadium and defeating Marlboro County in the home opener.
The Scots will again play the Tigers to begin the season, who are now led by Rodney Brewington after former head coach Randy Ledford passed away in April. Scotland throttled South View 52-0 in their meeting last year, and the Tigers went on to finish with a 2-9 record.
Scotland then travels to Independence on Aug. 28 to play the Patriots in an early season showdown. Coached by Joe Evans, Independence finished 12-1 last year, winning the 4A Southwestern Conference before falling to Hough in the second round of the 4AA playoffs.
A trip to Bennettsville on Sep. 4 looms after the Independence game, where the Scots are set to clash with the Bulldogs. Scotland bested Marlboro 51-13 in Laurinburg last season, but the Bulldogs ended the year strong, winning seven straight games at one point to advance to the quarterfinals of the South Carolina 3A playoffs.
The Scots return home on Sep. 11 to play Jack Britt, a team they squeaked by 20-14 in matchup last season, before driving east down I-74 the following week to play another familiar opponent in New Hanover. Scotland rolled to a 49-21 win at home in their 2014 meeting.
Scotland wraps up its non-conference schedule on Sep. 25 against Panther Creek, a team led by coach Sean Crocker. The Catamounts finished 11-3 and shared a 4A Southwest Wake conference championship with Green Hope before falling to Garner Magnet in the quarterfinals of the 4AA playoffs.
After that road stretch the Scots will enjoy a bye the week of Oct. 2, then are set to play three of their five SEC games at home. They open the conference schedule at Purnell Swett on Oct. 9, then play Pinecrest and Hoke at home before heading to Lumberton to play the Pirates on Oct. 30.
Scotland closes the season on Nov. 6 against Richmond Senior, and will look to defeat its rivals to the west for the fifth consecutive year in a game that will likely have major SEC title implications.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.