With a Wizard of Oz theme for the 2019 Scotland County Homecoming, it was only fitting that Mother Nature would play a role in the outcome of Friday night’s football game in Memphis. While there was no tornado to deliver Salisbury over the rainbow, there were plenty of storm clouds that eventually unleashed rain and lightening to force the cancelation of the contest at halftime.
Fortunately for SCR-I, the Tigers had followed the yellow brick road to the end zone enough times in the opening 24 minutes to be able to record the 46-6 victory in the abbreviated contest.
The theme of the night was “There is no Place Like Homecoming,” and that proved true from the get go as Alex Long returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. The sophomore had muffed the kick at the 10 yard line and had to go three yards deep into the end zone to retrieve the loose ball. He ran it out and then ran through a pair of tacklers before breaking the long touchdown run.
The Tigers forced a three and out on Salisbury’s first offensive possession, but gave the ball back after the punt on a fumble. The Panthers took advantage of the short field position when Grant Biere hit Jackson King on a 21-yard TD pass that cut the Tigers lead to 8-6 early in the first period.
SCR-I got the points back on the next possession, Hayden Long hit Kabe Hamlin on a 16-yard completion and followed it up with a 22-yard screen pass to Branton Burrus. That set up a 10-yard TD run by Alex Long. Burrus ran in his second two-point conversion of the night to push SCR-I out to the 16-6 lead with 4:38 left in the opening period.
Preston Sanchez and Eli Kigar combined for a quarterback sack on fourth down to give SCR-I the ball back near midfield. Three plays later Hayden Long broke a 47-yard touchdown run to make the score 22-6 with 2:28 left in the opening period.
The Tigers were stopped on downs on their next possession to open the second quarter but held the Panthers and forced a punt.
After a 15-yard run by Burrus, Hayden Long again broke loose, this time scampering 35 yards for the end zone with 4;04 left in the first half. The Tigers quarterback ran in the two-point try to extend the lead to 30-6.
Just three plays later, Hayden Long found himself back in the end zone, this time on defense as he picked off a pass and returned it 58 yards for the score. The two-point run by Burrus pushed the margin to 38-6 with 3:10 left in the half.
That proved more than enough time for one final tally.
After a key defensive stop on fourth and one, the Tigers quickly moved into scoring position courtesy of a 37-yard screen pass to Burrus. Penalties backed the Tigers up to first down and 30 yards to go, but Kaden Anders got all 33-yards as he caught the screen pass from Long and dissected the Salisbury defense for the TD. Hayden Long ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 46-6 with 18 seconds in the half.
Faced with a lightening delay to open the second half and more looming weather, the two teams agreed to call the game completed.
Despite just 24 minutes on the field, Scotland County still amassed 245 yards of offense. Hayden Long ran the ball five times for 92 yards and two TDS. He completed four of six passes for 108 yards and a TD. Burrus ran the ball four times for 26 yards and had two catches for 59 yards before being crowned Homecoming King in the halftime festivities. Andres had 11 yards rushing and grabbed the 33-yard TD pass while Alex Long ran the ball four times for 19 yards and a score to go along with the kick return TD.
SCR-I held Salisbury to just 46 yards of total offense and two first downs. Alex Long led the defense with 11 tackles. Burrus made seven stops and Kigar finished with six tackles.
Scotland County improves to 4-1 on the season with the victory.