LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots have the scars to prove they earned their seventh consecutive conference crown.
Thirty-seven straight conference victories — 30 Southeastern Conference wins and seven Sandhills Athletic Conference — makes the Fighting Scots the reigning kings of 4A football.
The Scots 37-game conference win streak is a state record, Wake Forest has the second longest conference win streak dating back to 2014 with 26 wins.
Conference championships have been plentiful for the Fighting Scots, it’s state championship that have proved far more elusive. Despite entering the 4A playoff arena time and again the pride of Scotland County is six years removed from their last state championship.
Fighting Scots head coach Richard Bailey knows the expectations are high as his squad enters the 4A playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East for a second year in a row.
“As it stands anything short of making a serious run at a state championship is a disappointment — not only to the fans, but to me and the players,” Bailey said. “We are the winningest 4A football program in the state. We only have one state championship to show for that, but we’ve won more football games than any team in the state.”
This season the team has also set several school and state records in their hunt for the conference crown.
The Scots rushed for 623 yards on the ground against Seventy-First in Week 9 — a new record for most rushing yards in a single-game at Scotland High School.
According to the North Carolina High School Association’s state football records, the game between Scotland and Seventy-First will rank 17th all-time for most rushing yards in a single game.
In that game, senior Zamir White had 310 rushing yards, setting an SHS record — that only lasted three weeks. White broke his own record on Friday against Richmond rushing for 316 yards along with a 90-yard kick return for a touchdown.
Scots quarterback Warren Bell’s name will also be added to the record books after his eight rushing touchdowns against Seventy-First.
The winningest 4A team in North Carolina continues their chase for a ring to wear with their crown next week against the winner of No. 8 Jordan and No. 9 Seventy-First.
Before the kings of the SAC-8 re-enter Pate Stadium here is a look at the record-setting numbers the team put up in the regular season:
— OFFENSIVELY —
Total yards: 5,559
The Scots offense is averaging 556 yards of offense per game — with most of those yards coming from the run game. Bailey has a simple game plan — run the ball — and like Novocaine, it might take time but it always works. The Scots average 399 rushing yards and 79 passing yards per game.
• Rushing: 3,991
1) Zamir White — 140 carries for 1,941 yards and 35 touchdowns
2) Warren Bell — 121 carries for 1,142 yards and 11 touchdowns
3) Shyeam “Smiley” McQueen — 46 carries for 385 yards and four touchdowns
University of Georgia commit Zamir White had a season high 316 rushing yards on Friday, which surpassed his 310 yards game against Seventy-First three weeks ago. White has now eclipsed 7,000 career rushing yards with 7,024 and his on pace to have to second 2,000-yard season.
Scots senior quarterback Warren Bell galloped past the 1,000 rushing mark with 202 yards against Richmond on Friday. Bell has been tasked with sharing the rushing load with White as junior Shyeam McQueen is still nursing a shoulder injury and has been splitting his time back between offense and defense.
• Receiving: 778
1) Khalil Smith — 10 catches for 195 yards and five touchdowns
2) Bruce Wall — nine catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns
3) Trey Dixon — 10 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown
The Scots have found a new home for running back Khalil Smith — wide receiver. Smith leads the Scots receivers with five touchdowns and 195 receiving yards.
• Passing: 790
Quarterback: Warren Bell — 42 of 73 for 733 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions
The Scots senior has a completion rate of 57 percent. His passer rating is 154 through the end of the regular season and he is averaging around 73.3 passing yards per game. In recent games, Bell has been doing more rushing than passing. On Friday, the Scots leader rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns in his first Scotland-Richmond game.
— DEFENSIVELY —
• Points allowed: 252
The Fighting Scots defense has faced three of the best offense’s in the 4A football — Mallard Creek, West Mecklenburg and Seventy-First — this season. The defense is adopting a bend-don’t-break attitude, where it’s acceptable for teams to score points but making sure they holding those same offenses in check. Richmond scored the most points with 47 and Hoke County scored the least with 12 points.
• Yards allowed: 3,212
The Scots defense on average allowed 321 yards per game, which might seem like a high number, but the Scots offense is still out gaining their opponents by 278 yards a game. Richmond has the highest passing numbers against Scotland with 418 yards. Pinecrest put up the largest numbers on the ground with 258 yards. The defense held Purnell to just 57 passing yards and Hoke to 58 rushing yards.
• Interceptions: 9
The Scots defense has forced nine interceptions this season. Senior linebacker Kalish McNair and strong safety Manny Smith lead the team with two interceptions each. McNair returned one of his interceptions 35 yards for a touchdown against Jack Britt. Senior Marqwues Wilson got his second interception on Friday with a pick-six against Richmond. Senior defensive backs Laron Quick, Davon Ratliffe and Brenton Thomas each have one interception.
• Quarterback sacks: 36
Fighting Scots senior defensive end T.J. Smith leads the defense with 11 sacks followed by sophomore Mohamed Kaba with seven. Senior Javon Ratliffe has tallied six while fellow senior Tavis Harrington has three. Senior Chris Williams and junior Tymere Graham have each recorded two. Marqwues Wilson, Tyshuon Thomas, Davon Ratliffe and Keante McNair each have tallied one sack.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.