LAURINBURG — Scotland’s football team has a much different look than it did last season, but quarterback Bruce Wall hasn’t changed his expectations.
The junior said the Scots should be able to have a successful year despite losing 32 seniors from last year’s team that finished as the runner-up in the Class 4A state playoffs.
“I feel like we can go back to state with this team, but we have to work hard and focus on getting everyone on the same page,” Wall said.
Wall is starting under center for the Scots after serving as the team’s primary receiver last season. Wall tallied 267 yards and four touchdowns on 14 receptions while running back Zamir White and quarterback Warren Bell anchored the team’s run-first attack.
Although Wall hasn’t played quarterback on a full-time basis since his freshman year, Scotland head coach Richard Bailey is confident in his ability to run the offense.
“Bruce has unbelievable ability,” Bailey said. “The leadership part is going to come as he grows up a little bit. There’s more to it than just being a good player. But he does have great athletic ability. He has the things you want in a quarterback.”
Growing up has been the theme of the preseason for the Scots. Bailey said he’s had to spend a considerable amount of time teaching basic fundamentals to his team over the summer.
The next step in the team’s growth will be its season opener on Saturday against Matthews Butler at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte. Bailey estimated that nine underclassmen will start alongside Wall on offense and seven will start on defense.
Bailey said that scenario is “not ideal” for a 4A school, but the team will benefit in the future from its younger players getting playing time.
Wall knows that he will play a significant role in helping the team develop this season. The 6-foot, 1-inch quarterback said he is ready to take on a leadership role for the Scots.
Growing as a leader is one of many signs of maturation Bailey expects to see out of Wall this season.
“He’s got great athleticism, he’s got great arm strength, he can run, he’s physical when he needs to be,” Bailey said. “The mental side of it, learning the reads and keys and assignments, that’s a work in progress like it is with a lot of guys.
“He hasn’t played quarterback since his ninth grade year on JV,” he added. “Obviously this is a little bit more complicated than what he did when he was in ninth grade.”
Wall is up for the challenge, and he said he expects the Scots to exceed the expectations placed on their young roster.
“They don’t have to believe, but as long as we believe, we can achieve,” Wall said.
Scotland’s game against Butler kicks off at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.