While the current football Fighting Scots add to a banner 2012 season with each passing week, the Scotland stars of tomorrow are blazing a championship path all their own.
The Scotland County Parks and Recreation all-stars played the first game of the Statewide Athletics Committee (S.W.A.C) state tournament on Nov. 17 against the Person County all-stars.
And with a crowd of nearly 200 local fans cheering them on, the Scotland all-stars won in impressive fashion, easily defeating Person County 32-0 to advance in the tournament.
“The future of Scotland High School looks bright if we can keep these kids engaged and in love with the sport of football,” said Scotland all-stars’ head coach Darwin “Duke” Williams. “All these kids played each other in the regular season, so it was important to get them to come together as a single team and gel. They did exactly that, and on Saturday we saw a lot of them grow up right in front of our eyes.”
Scotland County proved dominant on both sides of the ball this past Saturday, highlighted by explosive offensive plays and a smothering defensive performance.
In the first quarter, it was Khalil Smith that got Scotland off to a lightning-quick start after Smith ignited his team with a 61-yard touchdown run. The score was 8-0 after a Shyheim Lloyd run gave Scotland the successful two-point conversion, something that the team managed to accomplish on every scoring drive on the afternoon.
Quarterback Savon Wall showcased his ability to give Scotland an aerial attack via a 34-yard touchdown pass to Marquez Ingram in the second quarter. It was the first of two scores for the all-stars in the quarter, as Shyheim Lloyd further piled on Person County with a three-yard run that capped off another successful offensive series for Scotland.
And on defense, Scotland applied constant pressure to Person County, registerring sacks and hurries on the opposing quarterback 10 times throughout the contest. Person County’s most successful offensive drive came in the third quarter as they pushed the ball to mid-field, but the possession was quickly shut down after Israel Fields made an acrobatic diving interception, which halted any momentum that Person County had built.
“Every all-stars team has an identity, and I believe this team will be defined by our defensive ability,” said Williams, who credits a defensive line featuring Ingram, Ian Spangler, Noah Easter, Dajuan Monley, William Brisson and Adonis Jackson for helping to stifle Person County. “We have tremendous athletes on both sides of the ball, and Person County never really threatened our defense at any time in the game.”
The final score of the game was another highlight-reel run by Smith, this time for 36-yards which was capped off by a pass from Wall to Bruce Wall to give Scotland the 32-0 lead in the third quarter. The score would stick for the remainder of the game.
The last time the Scotland County all-stars finished as S.W.A.C. state champions was in 2008, when Williams coached a team including the late C.J. McLaurin and several current Fighting Scots such as Bradley Baines, Justin Brown and Tre Thomas.
But looking at this year’s team (which has practiced four days a week in the weeks following the end of the Parks and Recreation regular season), Williams maintains hopes that the Scotland County all-stars have what it takes to run the table this year.
“There was a lengthy amount of time from when the season ended to now, so our kids have been extremely excited to get back on the field,” Williams said. “We have the talent, and as long as we keep improving from week-to-week and maintain our intensity, good things will happen.”
The Scotland County all-stars will next be in action Saturday Dec. 1 against the High Point all-stars. That game will once again take place at Legion Field, with a game time set for 1:30 p.m.