LAURINBURG — The Fighting Scots are head to the ‘ship — the 4A state championship. In their final game of the 2017 season, the Scots will travel to Winston-Salem — like they did in 2011 when they won state — on Saturday, Dec. 9 against the No. 1 team from the West, Harding University High School out of Charlotte.
As the Scots prepare for their final opponent, we take a look back at the road leading up to their third state championship appearance in the last six years.
Mallard Creek, 28-21 L
For the first time in two years, the Fighting Scots opened their season with a loss. Despite three touchdowns by senior tailback Zamir White — one on the ground and two through the air. Warren Bell made his start at quarterback as the Scots offense managed 490 yards of offense. Despite out gaining the Mavericks on the stat sheet, Mallard Creek’s offense was fired on all cylinders to earn the seven-point victory.
Durham Hillside, 34-21 W
The Fighting Scots rebounded with a win over Durham Hillside as the offense continued to find its identity. The defense found redemption with its first fumble recovery of the season and holding Hillside’s quarterback to -68 yards rushing. The Scots turned to the run game in the second half, looking to Bell and White for the final two touchdowns.
West Mecklenburg, 40-27 W
The Fighting Scots went back their rushing roots as White and Syheam McQueen exchanged hand offs throughout the game. The duo combined for 40 carries for 385 rushing yards. The Scots defense was led by senior Davon Ratliffe, who led West Meck’s lead receiver Dyami Brown to 30 yards.
Jack Britt, 48-21 W
The Fighting Scots opened Sandhills Athletic Conference play against Jack Britt and scored early and often. The Scots put up 35 unanswered points in the first quarter with touchdown runs by Zamir White, Warren Bell and two by Shyeam McQueen. Senior Kalish McNair scored a defensive touchdown picking off Jack Britt’s quarterback. Scotland scored two additional touchdowns in the second quarter a 41-yard gallop by White and an 88-yard kick return by Khalil Smith.
Purnell Swett, 57-20 W
The Fighting Scots — and the entire SAC-8 — were led by senior running back Zamir White’s six first half touchdowns. White had 10 carries for 226 yards to reach 107 career touchdowns. The Scots senior was a force to be reckoned with after McQueen left the game with a shoulder injury. White’s six touchdowns weren’t the only ones the Scots scored in their trouncing of the Rams. Quarterback Warren Bell and back-up running back Joseph McKoy each scored on the ground for the Scots.
Hoke County, 61-12 W
The Fighting Scots went for a more balanced offensive approach in their 49-point victory over the Bucks. The rushing attack was still the Scots main source of points, but they spread the love as four different players scored rushing touchdowns and two had receiving TDs. White tallied seven carries for 162 yards and two touchdowns. The yardage pushed him over 6,000 career rushing yards and over 1,000 rushing yards for this season. Scotland’s defense flexed its muscle only allowing the Bucks offense it garner 175 yards.
Seventy-First, 56-35 W
The Scots rushed for 623 yards on the ground against the Falcons — a new record for Scotland High School for most rushing yards in a single-game. White rushed for 310 rushing yards while Bell had a breakout game with 274 rushing yards and a record eight touchdowns. The two teams went tit-for-tat in the first half, before Ratliffe started the third quarter with an interception to turn the tide of the game.
Pinecrest, 47-28 W
The Scots offense was exceedingly efficient against Pinecrest only having the ball for 11:27 of the game. The Scots leaned on the passing game, as Bell and slot receiver Khalil Smith. The duo had two touchdowns in the first quarter on 17 and 52-yard pass receptions. Those were followed by four rushing touchdowns by White.
Lumberton, 63-14 W
The Fighting Scots scored in all three facets of the game — seven offensive touchdowns, an interception for a touchdown and a blocked punt in the end zone for six points. Defensive back Manny Smith started the game with a pick six of Lumberton’s Braylan Grice and defensive lineman Dashawn Zimmerman ended the game by blocking a punt in the end zone for a touchdown. Those two defensive plays were the bookends to a dominant performance that saw the Scots put together 489 yards of total offense. Bell and running back Joseph McKoy each rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown.
Richmond, 63-47 W
The scoring between arch rivals Scotland and Richmond hit a 50-year high. The two combined for 110 points and 1,131 yards of offense in their 50th all-time meeting. White broke his own record for rushing yards in a single game with 23 carries for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Not to be outdone, Bell had 22 carries for 202 yards and three touchdowns as McQueen was primarily a blocker instead of a rusher as his shoulder continued to heal.
Seventy-First, 56-35 W
Scotland earned a first-round bye in the 4A playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East. Seventy-First earned the No. 9 seed defeating No. 8 Jordan. The offenses continued to go back and forth throughout the game and just like the first time the two met during the regular season. Scotland scored five first-quarter touchdowns after the Falcons scored the first 14 points. The Scots defense stepped up and defensive lineman T.J. Smith batted down a pass for his first interception of the season.
South Central, 74-34 W
For the first time in four years, Scotland took the field without No. 34 in the backfield. White’s high school career came to an end three weeks earlier than expected after suffering a torn ACL in the third quarter of the game against Seventy-First. In White’s absence, Bell and McQueen combined for 455 rushing yards as Bell broke Jaylend Ratliffe’s single-game quarterback rushing record of 311 yards by carrying the ball for a whopping 380 yards. South Central had success in the passing game with 289 yards in the air for five touchdowns.
Eastern Regional Finals
Wilmington Hoggard, 47-46 OT W
In their first overtime game of the season, Fighting Scots quarterback Warren Bell put his team on his back and toted them to victory. On the final play of overtime, Bell rushed for a two-yard touchdown before following the lead of head coach Richard Bailey and going for the two-point conversion to win the game. Bell scored six touchdowns, plus the two-point conversion to lead the Scots offense. The Scots defense helped in the victory with two fumble recoveries and an interception.