LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots and Independence had two drastically different Week 1 outcomes. The Scots cruised past South View 41-7 while Independence got shut out by Dutch Fork, 45-0.
This year Independence is coming into Pate Stadium with a chip on its shoulder following last season’s 42-13 to Scotland, after being tabbed as one of the few teams capable of upsetting the Scots.
“Last year there were people thinking Independence might have something for us,” said coach Richard Bailey. “They are probably a little upset with what happened last week too, so I would look for them to come out a little more fired up.”
To go along with self imploding during their season opener Independence has faced internal turmoil over the past few weeks as head coach Scott Young was fired one week before the season started. Young was replaced by offensive coordinator Hal Brown.
No word was given by the school on why Young was fired, according to multiple media outlets.
It didn’t help the Patriots that Dutch Fork has played in the South Carolina state championship three of the last four years — winning the state championship two of those years.
“They (Independence) were playing a very good football team,” said Bailey. “Things started going bad for them and I think it sort of snowballed on them.”
Independence only managed eight first downs the entire game and incurred seven penalties for 66 yards. The Patriots gave up 306 yards of total offense to Dutch Fork — 119 in receiving yards and 115 rushing.
Bailey said despite Independence’s recent struggles traditionally they are a good football team and could still prove to be a challenge for the Scots on Friday.
“Independence has some good football players. They have a proud program and football is a big deal to them,” Bailey said. “They won eight straight state championships in the early 2000s.”
The Patriots offense is led by junior quarterback Weston Cook and they run a balanced offense, mixing in the run and pass. Bailey said they do have some tall wide receivers and a good running back, which makes them very versatile.
On defense, the Patriots are more of a by-the-book 4-3 or 4-4 type of team according to Bailey.
“All three of their linebackers are returning from last year’s team, so they have some good depth there. They also have a couple of their defensive backs returning from last year,” he said. “I think where they are hurting a little bit is on the offensive and defensive line. We feel like we have an advantage up front on both sides of the ball and we like those match ups.”
Heading into Week 2, Bailey has seen an improvement in his team’s blocking which was something he wasn’t very impressed with following the South View game.
“One thing about playing South View is they had so many people around the ball, blitzing and stuff they make you look bad at times,” he said. “Independence is a little more of a line up like you’re supposed to line up team; hopefully, that will help us out in who we block because at times South View had us a little bit confused.”
Scotland gave up 293 all purpose yards last week to South View and had six penalties that cost them 33 yards and stalled a few drives.
Bailey is excited for the Scots to be playing in their home opener and wants to give the fans and players that collegiate-type experience.
“It’s always great playing in Pate Stadium,” he said. “We have the greatest fans in North Carolina. It will be a great atmosphere. I can’t think of a better place to play high school football than Pate Stadium to be honest with you.”
To help with the collegiate atmosphere, Scotland High School has teamed up with Scotland Motors to give fans a chance to win a car at halftime.
“We’re excited about that. You go to the college games whether it’s basketball or football and they have the games to win a scholarship or a car. We’re trying to build that halftime excitement,” Bailey said. “We’re going to use one of the 50/50 tickets and draw one at halftime for a chance to win a car from Scotland Motors and then they will draw the normal 50/50 ticket at the end of the third quarter and the winner will get the split of the money.”
Bailey did admit in order to win the car the person whose 50/50 ticket is selected with have to complete some sort of football related task, but he wouldn’t give out any hints.
“We’re keeping that under wraps, we don’t want people out in the community practicing,” he said. “It will be something to do with football. We’ll surprise everyone with that Friday night.”
The Scots and Independence will kick off at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Aug. 26 at Pate Stadium.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.