SOUTHERN PINES — The Scotland football team traveled to Pinecrest High School on a blistering hot Tuesday morning to compete in its first 7-on-7 scrimmages of the season.
Among the schools who took the field with the Scots were Pinecrest, Union Pines, North Moore and Terry Sanford. The teams alternated 10-play possessions so that each had two offensive and defensive series. Scotland competed against every school except the Fayetteville-based Bulldogs, and matched up against the Patriots, a Southeastern Conference rival, for two scrimmages.
Because the Scots offense is built in the trenches with an emphasis on running the ball, head coach Richard Bailey doesn’t put a lot of stock in Tuesday’s outcomes.
“It’s nice, you can learn some things and evaluate some skills, but it’s definitely not the end-all of football,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of 7-on-7 games to teams that we play real football with that we beat by 40. We’re not built to be a chuck it around the yard type of team — we’re very capable of it — but that’s not exactly how we get things done on Friday nights.”
The Scots opened the 9 a.m. 7-on-7 drills against the Patriots, with the first- and second-team offense and defense splitting reps. Although it was a practice setting with no offensive or defensive linemen, the meeting between the two schools was the first since Scotland won a thrilling 29-22 contest last October.
Then-freshman Zamir White rushed for a 46-yard touchdown on a third-and-7 play with 1:20 remaining that ended up being the go-ahead score.
The Pinecrest program, led by coach Chris Metzger, had a breakout season, finishing 11-3 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. The Patriots defeated Middle Creek 38-9 in the first round of the playoffs before falling to 4AA runner-up Wake Forest 45-21 in round two.
White, along with all-SEC quarterback Dashaun Ferguson and wide receivers Randy Leak and Willie Douglas, played for one series in all of the 7-on-7 drills, then relinquished the offense to the backups. Bailey mentioned that a number of players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, were out of the lineup due to various obligations, but he was happy to see players lower on the depth chart get some experience.
Scotland played 1A North Moore in the second scrimmage, and the small school from Robbins held its own, especially in the offensive drills.
The Mustangs are coached by Mike Vogt, who paced the team to a 6-6 record in 2014 and a fifth-place finish in the nine team Yadkin Valley Conference. North Moore was eliminated in the first round of the 1AA playoffs by Bessemer City, 28-21.
The Scots’ defense picked up its play, however, in the final two drills against Pinecrest and Union Pines.
Union Pines is a 3A school from the Cape Fear Valley Conference, where they placed fifth last season. The Vikings are coached by Ryan Riggan and finished 6-6 overall in 2014, losing in the first round of the 3AA playoffs to Corinth Holders, 29-13.
Against the Vikings, Scotland allowed one touchdown that was a result of a deflected pass that fell into the arms of a Union Pines receiver, but other than that, Jonathan Smith and the Scots defense ended the sweltering morning on a high note.
Bailey said after watching the team in the spring and the first part of summer, he is encouraged by the talent he sees on both sides of the ball.
“I feel good about what we’ve done — I really feel good about the offensive line and the direction they’re headed and the linebackers and the front seven.”
Scotland will return to Southern Pines next Tuesday for more 7-on-7 competitions before enjoying a North Carolina High School Athletic Association-mandated break from June 28-July 3.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.