LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots made it clear that Seventy-First was going to have to take a win because they weren’t going to just give it to them.
The Scots came ready for war and struck first blood with a three-yard touchdown from senior Zamir White to take a 7-0 lead after a successful extra point by senior Tripp Wells.
The Falcons led by junior quarterback Kyler Davis and wide receiver Reggie Bryant came answered the Scots war cry. Davis connected with Bryant on a 23-yard touchdown pass to knot the game 7-7 after a successful PAT.
The Sandhills Athletic Conference’s top two teams went tit-for-tat through most of the first half. When one would score, the other would respond with a touchdown of their own.
Fighting Scots quarterback Warren Bell had the Scots driving up his pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Seventy-First’s Jays’son Leach.
Despite the interception, the Scots defense held the Falcons to a third down and 20 before Davis threw an incomplete pass in the end zone for Bryant.
The Scots scored first in the second quarter courtesy of an 84-yard scamper down the sideline by White. Two minutes later, Davis found Bryant, this time for 44-yards, for a touchdown. Seventy-First missed the extra point, so the lead remained with the Scots, 14-13.
A 17-yard touchdown run by White and a 61-yard gallop by Bell gave the Scots a comfortable 28-13 lead with just over four minutes left in the half.
Davis marched his team down the field and found Kyle House in the back corner of the end zone. The Falcons went to two-point conversion. Davis found Bryant and just like that the Scots lead was back to seven, 28-21.
Scots head coach Richard Bailey answered Seventy-First with a bold move — a deep ball from Bell to White. The gamble paid off and one play later Bell drove five yards into the end zone to give the Scots a 35-21 lead at the half.
An interception by senior Davon Ratliff opened the third quarter and set up a 93-yard drive by the Scots. The drive was capped by a three-yard quarterback keeper by Bell to put the Scots up 42-21.
Davis and Bryant picked up where they left off with a fade to the corner for a touchdown on back-to-back drives for the Falcons.
A third touchdown by Bell brought the Scots to just shy of 50 points, but the Falcons wouldn’t fly home. With just under eight minutes left to play, the Scots maintained a 49-35 lead.
The race to the finish saw White and Bell for the Scots and Davis and Bryant for Seventy-First grind it out.
Bell wrapped the scoring for the night with a final rushing touchdown with 4:21 left in the game to secure the Scots 56-35 win.
Fighting Scots head coach Richard Bailey was beyond impressed with White and Bell’s performance as Scotland’s new dynamic rushing duo.
“We ran the ball, Warren Bell and Zamir White were incredible, but getting all five of our offensive linemen back was big,” Bailey said. “It’s a great feeling when everyone in the stadium knows you’re going to run it and they still can’t stop it.”
Bell had 26 carries for 274 yards five touchdowns and White had 24 carries for 310 yards the Scots other three touchdowns.
“That’s probably a record for Scotland football, rushing for over 600 yards in one game,” said Bailey. “Never have two backs had over 250 yards each in the same game. If the traditionalists can dig up the stats and prove me wrong great but tonight’s performance is probably a school record.”
Despite the Scots defense giving up 35 points, Bailey told his defense not to hang their heads because they played well enough to help their team get a win.
“We played good enough defense to win and got enough stops,” he said. “Reggie Bryant is a heck of a player and so is their quarterback. I told people all week they have the most balanced offense we’ve played all year and they proved it.”
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.