LAURINBURG —The duo that lined up in the backfield for the Scotland football team against Butler two weeks ago will be watching from the bench as the Fighting Scots take on rival Marlboro County, S.C., on Friday night.
Quarterback Bruce Wall and two-way athlete Syheam McQueen will be nursing a torn ACL and sprained MCL, respectively, but head coach Richard Bailey said their absence on the field isn’t going to bother his team.
“The kids have been resilient,” Bailey said. “They might take it better than the coaches. They know it’s next man up. Do the best we can. They’ve bought in to the fact that no one’s going to feel sorry for us. We’re going to keep working hard. I’m proud of our kids for not making a bunch of excuses.”
Darrius Dockery and Joseph “Poppa” McKoy were already seeing significant playing time at running back before McQueen was injured during last week’s win over Durham Hillside. The Scots have yet to decide on a full-time replacement for Wall.
Sophomores Tyler Barfield and Mandrell Johnson, who split time at quarterback on Scotland’s jayvee team last year, have been taking snaps under center ever since Wall was injured during the team’s season opener at Matthews Butler.
“Right now we’re still trying to find a quarterback that gives us the best chance to win,” Bailey said. “Right now it’s Tyler, but I’m definitely trying to push Mandrell to get better because Mandrell has a little more athletic ability. Right now Tyler’s doing a better job and he knows what he’s doing, and we’ll see how it plays out over the next couple weeks.”
Taking McQueen’s position at linebacker is freshman Ladarrius McNeill, who had one of the team’s five interceptions against Hillside last week.
“We’ve still got a long ways to go,” Bailey said. “I used to be able to sit here and pretty much know we were going to win on Friday nights. Now we don’t know that. There’s definitely no givens on any Friday nights with this. The margin of error is not what it used to be. We’re going to have to play well and improve.
“This is a rivalry game. Marlboro County has been on the losing end of this for about the last five or six years, and I’m sure they’d like to get one from us.”
Chip Williams was Scotland’s head coach when the Scots lost to the Bulldogs 24-13 in 2010. The Scots have rattled off six consecutive wins over their rivals since then.
Scotland defeated the Bulldogs each season from 2011 to 2016. The teams did not play each other in 2017.
About the Bulldogs
Marlboro County is coming off a 40-14 win at Cheraw last week. That win was preceded by a 36-0 victory at home over Carolina Christian.
Senior receiver Tyrek Eaddy tallied a combined 206 yards and four touchdowns for the Bulldogs over their first two games. Running back Demarkus Hicks has a combined 172 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
Quarterback Elijah Blair finished 8 for 18 for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against Cheraw. He also rushed for 80 yards.
Blair completed all of his 11 passes against Carolina Christian. He finished that game with 134 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs finished 3-7 last season.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.