LUMBERTON — The Fighting Scots are one win closer to conference championship T-shirts.
It might seem strange for the No. 5 ranked team in the state to be playing for T-shirts, but head coach Richard Bailey said it’s a running joke in the program.
Since 2011, the Fighting Scots have won 36 straight conference games after their 63 to 14 thrashing of Lumberton. If the Scots can get past Richmond next Friday at Pate Stadium it will mark 37 consecutive conference wins, seven conference titles — six in the Southeastern Conference and one in the Sandhills Athletic Conference — and guarantee their place in the upper echelon of the newly formed SAC-8.
“Next week it’s for all the marbles,” Bailey said following the win. “It’s unprecedented playing for a seventh championship, it’s a huge game, we’re playing for a T-shirt, plus being the No. 1 seed in the East and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Our kids need to be focused, Richmond is a dangerous team and we have to be ready to play.”
On the first place from scrimmage, Scots senior Manny Smith picked off Lumberton’s Braylan Grice for a 50-yard pick six. The Scots offense — not to be out done by the defense — took over at the 25-yard line and two plays later, quarterback Warren Bell found senior wide receiver Tim Jones for a 15-yard touchdown catch.
The Pirates offense, down 14-0, responded with a methodical drive led by Grice and capped by a one-yard quarterback keeper touchdown. With 4:33 left in the first quarter, the Scots had a one touchdown lead, but that didn’t last long.
On the Scots ensuing possession, Bell broke off a 42-yard run to set up a 14-yard touchdown trot by senior tail back Zamir White.
White scored two more rushing touchdowns for a combined 63 yards before halftime, those in conjunction with a 15-yard pass from Bell to wide receiver Bruce Wall and a 68-yard touchdown run by Joseph McKoy put the Scots up, 49-7.
With a 42-point lead, the game had a running clock for the entirety of the second half. Lumberton tried to close the gap in the third quarter with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Grice to Kwashek Breeden. The touchdown made it 49-14 Scots to end the short-lived third quarter.
The Scots back-ups scored two touchdowns in the final quarter, a 19-yard run by senior quarterback Desmond Davis and a blocked punt by Dashawn Zimmerman scored the Scots final seven points, to make it a 63-14 victory.
“We weren’t really trying to block the punt, but you can’t tell a kid not to go hard,” said Bailey. “We only rushed one guy, Zimmerman has never played football, it’s his first year. I apologized to the coach because we weren’t trying to show anyone up.”
The Scots racked up 489 yards of total offense — 117 through the air and 372 on the ground — while the defense held Lumberton to 185 yards.
The Scots improve to 8-1 overall and 6-0 in Sandhills Athletic Conference play while Lumberton falls to 2-8 overall and 1-5 in SAC-8 play.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.