RAEFORD — After both teams went scoreless in the first half, Seventy-First capitalized on four second-half turnovers by Scotland on the way to a 21-6 win over the Fighting Scots on Friday night.
The loss marked the end of a 39-game Sandhills Athletic Conference winning streak for the Scots.
Syheam McQueen finished with 90 rushing yards to lead Scotland’s office. Scotland head coach Richard Bailey said it was his defensive unit that stood out against the Falcons.
“Our defense played lights out almost the entire night,” Bailey said. “I’m really proud of those guys.”
Scotland’s offense struggled to stay on the field for most of the game, giving Seventy-First’s Devante Wedlock extra time to wear down the Scots’ defense. Wedlock finished with 56 yards and two touchdowns on 10 rushes for the Falcons.
His first touchdown came in the third quarter after Seventy-First’s Joseph Ferguson intercepted a pass by Scotland quarterback Tyler Barfield and returned it to the Scots’ 3-yard line. Wedlock powered it in from there, and the Falcons took a 6-0 lead following a failed extra point attempt.
Scotland (3-3, 2-1 SAC) advanced the ball to Seventy-First’s 4-yard line on the ensuing drive. With the offense lined up in the wildcat formation, Scotland’s next snap sailed over McQueen’s head. Thomas Washington recovered the loose ball for the Falcons to give the hosts possession midway through the third quarter.
The Scots forced Seventy-First (6-1, 3-0) to punt on the next drive, but Joseph McKoy muffed the return. Seventy-First recovered the ball, and Alex Williams capitalized on Scotland’s mistake with a 6-yard touchdown run. Seventy-First then took a 14-0 lead on a successful 2-point conversion run by Wedlock.
After Seventy-First recovered another botched snap by the Falcons early in the fourth quarter, Wedlock scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to give the Falcons a 21-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the game.
Scotland responded by scoring its only points of the night on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Mandrell Johnson to Jhamari Smith.
The Scots then recovered their own onside kick attempt, but a chop block penalty and another botched snap helped the Falcons’ defense as they forced Scotland to punt again.
Scotland got the ball back and reached the Falcons’ 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but McQueen was stopped as he tried to score on fourth down.
Nick Callahan finished with an interception for the Scots. He picked off a pass by the Falcons’ Kyler Davis early in the first quarter.
“We just have to keep playing hard, stay focused and not give up,” Callahan said after the loss.
Scotland punted four times and turned the ball over on downs once in the first half. After Callahan’s inteception, Seventy-First punted twice, lost a fumble and turned the ball over on downs to keep the game scoreless at halftime.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.