LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots defense was ready to play Friday night coming away with three interceptions and a fumble recovery — not to mention the 33-0 shutout victory over Independence.
The outstanding play of the Scots defense helped make up for some of the mishaps the offense was having. The offensive success the Scots did have, head coach Richard Bailey gave credit to the defense for setting up those touchdown drives.
“Defense played incredible,” he said. “Literally even when we scored on offense they were set up by defensive turnovers. Great job to our coaches and players on our defense. I can’t say enough about them. Hopefully they get a little credit, we’ve got a really good defense and they are well coached.”
The first interception by the Scots came off a tipped pass from Independence quarterback Wes Cook into the arms of Kalish McNair. McNair, with blockers in front of him, took the ball down to the 21-yard line. That play set up the Scots final touchdown of the game, a long pass from quarterback Sergio Gibson to wide receiver Barry Campbell.
The third quarter started with a fumble recovery by the Scots defense that set up a Syheam “Smiley” McQueen touchdown. Amir McNeill ended the third quarter with an interception. Just a few minutes later Alston Smith came down with another interception. The game ended on a last second pass by Independence that was knocked down pass by defensive back Tyrek Waters.
McQueen scored three of the Scots five touchdowns. The sophomore running back along with Khalil Smith shared the workload because Zamir White was sidelined — but still dressed — with a deep thigh bruise.
Despite putting 33 points on the board Bailey isn’t looking forward to watching his offense on film tomorrow.
“I’m embarrassed by the way the offense played,” he said. “In 25 years of coaching I don’t know if there has been a more frustrating night with mental errors, lack of execution and kids not doing what they’re supposed to do. Literally going over it with them on the board, telling them we’re getting ready to run the play, showing them who to block and then going out there and blocking completely wrong. Kids not knowing where to line up, not knowing basic formations — just basic stuff we have to do better on.”
Not having White in the backfield seemed to throw the Scots offense slightly off balance, but Bailey knows that despite a poor offensive showing — by Scotland standards — a win is still a win and it gets his team one step closer to a state championship.
“It’s never as bad as you think it is,” Bailey said. “Offensive line we’ve got to get a lot, a lot, a lot did I say a lot better. It’s just disappointing but Indy did a great job of moving around and doing some things. Usually what we see people do on film they throw that away and try to do the Scotland County defense. That’s where we have to be smart enough to make adjustments. As coaches we are, but as players we’re struggling to pick up in game adjustments. If it ain’t what we’ve done all week I might as well be speaking Chinese on the sideline and that’s frustrating.”
Looking ahead to next week, Scotland will host Marlboro County next Friday at Pate Stadium. Kick off for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.