LAURINBURG — Jim Willis still remembers the bus ride back from Rockingham in 1971.
The Scots had just beat their rivals — called Rockingham High School at the time — for the first time in 16 years.
“We played them that year in the old Rockingham Park, an old baseball park. We beat them and it was such a big deal that when we came back on bus, instead of stopping at the school we kept going to where Burger King is now,” Willis said. “There was a drive-in there at the time and we drove by hanging out the windows and yelling.”
Willis played center on that 1971 team that finished 8-2 overall, in between two twin brothers on the offensive line. Mike Dunn was at left guard, and his brother John was at right guard. Both Mike Dunn and Willis were backup quarterbacks, but that role was occupied by senior Curt Ramsey.
“I was a backup quarterback but I loved to hit, so I guess that’s why they put me up there,” Dunn said. “We ran the ball a lot … we actually ran the option for many years. Because of that we had to have quarterbacks who knew how to fake and pitch at the right time. That was my favorite offense. I enjoyed playing that way.”
Ramsey, the starting quarterback, was in his second year as the varsity starter. He said the team ran the ball about 75 percent of the time with the option. While the offense stayed the same, the coaching staff had some turmoil, as Ramsey saw three different coaches in his high school career. In his sophomore year, Clyde Parrish led the team. The next year it was Henry Van Scant, who had been an assistant at ECU and brought another coach with him. Then he left and Spencer Willard took over in 1971. Willard had been the junior varsity coach before being promoted.
Ramsey went on to play baseball at NC State, where the Wolfpack won three consecutive ACC Championships. He said the 1971 team was a talented team, despite not making the playoffs.
“We had a good group of guys. The teams that we lost to, we could’ve won those games,” Ramsey said.
An 8-2 record didn’t guarantee Scotland a spot in the playoffs that season, as the format was different than it is today. In the end, it all came down to the final game of the season against Dunn High School. Scotland lost that game 13-9, missing out on the playoffs. The Scots lost four fumbles in the game, including one on Dunn’s 15-yard line with three minutes left to play. That let Dunn run out the clock and win the game.
But despite the way it ended, it was still one of the better seasons Scotland has had, at least until recently. The only other game the Scots lost that season was an 18-14 defeat to Raeford.
Mike Dunn had several memories of the 1971 season, including one that illustrates just how different high school football was back then. There was no weight training program at Scotland, or even a weight room, at the time. But Dunn and Ramsey put together a program of their own using their personal weights and other equipment.
“We had to bring our own weights to the high school and go pick up guys wherever they were. So everyone brought their own weights and we worked out on the concrete basketball courts behind the school, and that was our summer workouts,” Dunn said.
The unofficial summer workouts are drastically different than today’s, when players and coaches are out on the fields nearly every morning. The time spent on the courts brought the team together, Dunn said. The group got along so well that they actually burst out into song once in practice, he said.
“One time we were running sprints and one day we got so tired a couple of us started singing a song. We would sprint and walk back and as were walking back we started singing ‘Where oh where are you tonight’, which was a song that came from the Hee Haw show.
Gene Powell was a split end and was one of one of Ramsey’s favorite receivers. Fairley could catch the ball on short routes and nobody could stop him cause he was so big.
A few names always came up d from Ramsey, Willis and Dunn. There was Paul Faulk, the tailback who went on to be a scout for the Braves and now works with the Nationals. There was Ted Rogers, a defensive back who led the team with seven interceptions. And Jim Fairley, a tight end who was Ramsey’s main target.
Fairley finished with 26 catches for 422 yards, and went on to play in the Shrine Bowl that year. He was the only player from the 3-A Southeastern Conference, which Scotland played in, to be selected that season.
The Scots’ reign over their neighbors ended up being short-lived, as the next year Willis and the Scots played their first game at Richmond’s new stadium. It did not go so well, Willis said.
“We got beat. When we walked in we were so in awe of the stands and the lights,” Willis said.
But that didn’t stain the memories of 1971.
The following stories have been lifted from the previous editions of The Laurinburg Exchange.
Nov. 24, 1971.
Ramsey, Fairley, Powell given conference honors
Three of Scotland High School’s senior football players were honored this week by being chosen as conference all-stars. The men were Curtis Ramsey, quarterback, Jim Fairley, tight end, and Gene Powell, split end.
This year the group was chosen a little differently than it has been in the past. Instead of picking a team with all-star players for all positions, twenty-two young men were chosen for defensive accomplishment.
Coach Spencer Willard said that he was very happy for the boys that were chosen from his team and that they all deserved the honor. He added, however, that he felt that some of his outstanding defensive men were overlooked. He did not mention any names, but he said he was sorry that they did not receiver recognition.
Ramsey led the Scots this season to 1,117 yards of passing, much of it with the aid of receptions by Powell and Fairley. Powell made 22 pass receptions for 340 yards. Fairley caught 26 of Ramsey’s passes for a total of 422 yards.
The others who were chosen for the all-stars include Larry Sampson and Charles Bell of Clinton; Mike Mann, Mike Stanley and Butch Smith of Dunn; Mike Johnson of Bowman; David Wook, Russell Davis, Bruce Morrison and Jerry Tucker of Hoke; Clint Bostick, Tommy Humber and Jerry McKenzie of Rockingham; Garnin Oliver and Randy Parrish of Lumberton; Herman Dowdy and Hope Gladden of Sanford; Dexter Pride and Randy Monroe of Pinecrest; and Gene Covington of Hamlet as a punting specialist. All except Samson and Mann are seniors.
Scot season ended wrong though overall was good
by Fred Hubbard
The Fighting Scots ended their season last Friday in a losing effort against Dunn. For 21 members of the team, this was the last game as a Scot grid man.
These seniors are: Curt Ramsey, quarterback, Mike Dunn, quarterback, Billy McKoy, tailback, Steve Milligan, defensive back, Ted Rogers, defensive back, Lee Smith, fullback, Paul Faulk, tailback, Stretch Covington, defensive center, John Dunn, center and tackle, Malcolm Tyndall, tackle, David Hearn, guard, Moose Campbell, guard, Bernard Douglas, tackle, Curtis McNeill, tackle, Bud Matthews, tackle, Leroy Johnson, guard, Rufus Campbell, tackle, Mike Collier, end, Gene Powell, end, Jim Fairley, end and kicker, and Nick Fields, tackle.
The Scots got a total of 237 points for the season against only 59 for their opponents and had an 8-2 final record, one of the best in Scot history. The total yardage for the year was 2,776 with 1,649 yards rushing and 1,117 yards passing. Lee Smith got 504 yards in 73 carries and 32 yards on three pass receptions. Paul Faulk carried 90 times for 450 yards and got 175 yards on six pass receptions. Billy McKoy gained 231 yards on 28 runs and caught one pass for eight yards. Otis Campbell carried 34 times for 142 yards and caught one pass for a 12 yard gain.
Curtis Ramsey ran the ball for 291 yards in 47 carries. He also completed 66 of 145 pass attempts or 1,117 yards and had a mere five interceptions. Mike Dunn carried six times for 31 yards.
Jim Fairley made 26 pass receptions for a total of 422 yards. Gene Powell got 340 yards on 22 pass receptions. Sophomore John Tyson caught seven passes for 128 yards. The defensive backs got their share of pass receptions, too. Ted Rogers led the interceptions with seven. Nelson Campbell picked off three passes. Andrew Sellers got one interception, Steve Milligan made two and Les Jones picked off three.
Ramsey did a fine job of punting the pigskin, too. On 35 punts this season he averaged 43.7 yards per punt for 1,501 yards of punting. The defensive lineman as well as the offensive linemen did their jobs throughout the season. There is, of course, no way to keep a record of yardage or scores that are accomplished with the help of these men, but nothing could be done without them. They do some of the hardest teamwork and get the least glory. Certainly the linemen deserve much of the credit for the fine season that the Fighting Scots had this year.
Even though the Socts did not get to the playoffs, this year was the first time in 16 years that they have beaten Rockingham, and the fine 8-2 record speaks for itself. The enthusiasm and effort of the players together with the support from the community and the students and the hard work of coach Spencer Willard, his assistants William Horn, Tom Jernigan, Joe Biggs and Golden Jones made this season’s action with the Fighting Scots all worth while.
Scots lose opener to N. Moore team
The fighting Scots let their first basketball game of the season slip by them. The North Moore Mustangs defeated them last night by a score of 76 to 64.
The scoring was spread out over most of the game with both teams holding good leads at times. The first quarter ended in a tie at 15-15. The half ended with North Moore leading by only two baskets 36-32. The Scots rallied in the third quarter and got up a good lead, but the Mustangs came back to within two points and the quarter ended with a score of 48-46 in favor of the Scots. The Mustangs continued the momentum that they had gotten at the end of the third quarter and, although the Scots kept even with them for part of the last quarter, they managed to build up a lead and win the contest.
Starting for the Scots were Frank Adams, Mitch McColl, James Moore, Mac McKeithan and Jim Fairley. Others who saw some action during the game were Mike Dunn, Monte Baker and Jim Willis.
Moore led the scoring for the Scots with a total of 22 points. Adams followed behind with 13 points. Fairley had 9 points, McCall had 8, McKeithan had 10 and Baker had 2.
The Mustangs were made up of several tall players and many good shooters. Barrett led the scoring for North Moore with 21 and Richardson was next with 15. They used a full court defense most of the night and a good amount of double coverage. Coach Paschal Stewart said that he learned much from last night’s game.
He will be using some of his new thoughts in tonight’s game. The Scots will be traveling to Massey Hill for the second away game this week. The Scots, with their twenty-game schedule, will have another chance at the Mustangs later in the season in a home game.