LAURINBURG — The tradition and legacy of the Fighting Scots football program has landed it among the top teams in the state.
Scotland came in at No. 11 on CarolinaPreps.com’s 4A #NCHSFB Preseason Power Rankings, which were released on Monday. This is the first time in three years the Fighting Scots haven’t been ranked in the top five. Last season, Scotland was ranked No. 2 and, in 2016, they were selected No. 4.
The loss of University of Georgia freshman Zamir White and 31 other seniors has shaken people’s confidence in the Scots ability to rebound. But Scots head coach Richard Bailey doesn’t put much stock into preseason predictions.
“The preseason polls are more about tradition and what you’ve done in previous years,” Bailey said. “They don’t know who we have coming back, they just know traditionally we’ve been strong. That really goes to your reputation and what you’ve achieved in the past.”
Richmond fell three spots to No. 10 — one position higher than Scotland — despite a 7-5 overall record, the Raiders strength of schedule landed them among the state’s best. Last season, Richmond played Wake Forest, Butler, Scotland, Pinecrest and Seventy-First.
In 2017, Scotland finished 12-2 overall and 7-0 in the Sandhills Athletic Conference to win its seventh consecutive conference title. The Fighting Scots took on Harding University in the 4A state championship, losing to the Rams 30-22.
The two-time defending 4AA champions, Wake Forest, earned the top spot in the preseason polls with Mallard Creek, the 4AA runner up, coming in at No. 2.
Five of the 11 teams that Scotland is scheduled to play this season made an appearance on the list, No. 3 Butler, No. 25 West Mecklenburg, No. 22 Jack Britt, No. 18 Seventy-First and No. 10 Richmond.
The Fighting Scots start the season off strong with a Saturday road game against No. 3 Butler as part of the sixth annual Charlotte Kickoff Night presented by OrthoCarolina. Scotland will spend the next five weeks at Pate Stadium hosting Durham Hillside, Marlboro County, West Mecklenburg, Jack Britt and Purnell Swett.
Scotland will be on the road against their other two ranked opponents — Seventy-First on Oct. 12 and Richmond to close out the regular season on Nov. 2.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]