LAURINBURG — Now that the schedule has flipped to August the number of days the Fighting Scots have to prepare for their season opener has dwindled.
The Scots begin their journey back to the “‘ship” in Charlotte on Aug. 18 against David W. Butler — a fact head coach Richard Bailey reminded his players about repeatedly on Tuesday.
Conditioning is the name of the game for the first week of practice as the Scots participate in the “county fair,” which features seven stations, plus a stop for water, that have the players do bear crawls, sled run and various other conditioning exercises.
“This is like Navy SEAL training, if you can make it through five days of this then we know you actually want to be on the team,” Bailey said.
At one point during practice, players had to redo one of the stations because coaches were less than pleased with their performance.
“That’s not good enough to beat Butler,” Bailey said.
County fair according to Bailey is all part of the process that everyone in the Scotland program has to go through. The rational is to see what the players will do when their tired and faced with adversity — with they rise up and support each other or start back biting.
Scotland will participate in the sixth annual Charlotte Kickoff Night presented by OrthoCarolina. The Fighting Scots will be the first game of the night taking on Butler at 5 p.m. the nightcap will feature Dutch Fork taking on Mallard Creek at 8 p.m.
The Scots will return to Laurinburg on Aug. 24 to take on Durham Hillside. Last season, the Scots had little trouble dispatching the Hornets, 34-21. Hillside finished the 2017 season, 5-6, and were eliminated in the first round of the 3AA playoffs.
Pate Stadium will host Marlboro County on Aug. 31. Severe thunderstorms forced the two teams to cancel their rivalry. Marlboro County finished 3-7 last season and were eliminated in the first round of the South Carolina High School League Class AAAA.
The Scots will have the week of Sept. 7 off for their bye before hosting West Mecklenburg in Week 5. The two teams met last season and the Scots clipped the Hawks, 40-27. West Meck finished 8-4 and lost in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
Week 6 opens Sandhills Athletic Conference play and as the reigning conference champions will be the team to beat.
Scotland will host a much improved Jack Britt team on Sept. 21. The Scots easily handled the Buccaneers 48-20. Jack Britt finished the season 6-6 under first-year head coach Brian Randolph, but are expected to be one of the league’s top teams this season.
The Fighting Scots will end their homestand against Purnell Swett on Sept. 28. After a 3-0 start to the season, the Rams hit a wall losing six in a row and finished 5-7. Purnell fell to the Scots, 57-20.
The Scots will hit the road in October traveling to Raeford to take on Hoke on Oct. 5. The Bucks welcomed former NFL player George Small as their new head coach after an 0-11 season. Scotland bested the Bucks, 61-12.
Seventy-First will be the Scots opponent on Oct. 12. The Falcons finished 9-4 overall and faced the Scots twice in 2017, once in conference and again in the second round of the playoffs. Both times, Scotland was victorious winning 56-35 during the regular season and 63-26 in the 4A state playoffs.
Scotland will travel to Southern Pines on Oct. 19 to take on Pinecrest. The Patriots finished the season 8-5, losing to the Scots, 47-28, and were eliminated in the second round of the 4AA playoffs.
The Scots return home on Oct. 26 to take on Lumberton before finishing out the season — as always — against Richmond on Nov. 2 in Rockingham. The Pirates were 2-9 last season and did not advance to the playoffs while the Raiders were 7-5 and lost in the first round of the 4AA playoffs.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]