On Friday night, the Scotland County football team found itself in new surroundings. Not only were the Tigers making their first visit to Louisiana, but a look up at the scoreboard midway through the first period saw SCR-I trailing for just the second time in the past seven weeks.
Fortunately the unfamiliar geography proved only a temporary setback as Scotland County scored 44 unanswered points to blast the Bulldogs 44-6 to secure the #1 seed in the Class 1 District playoffs that kick off Friday.
The Tigers ran into a few roadblocks early in the contest. After stopping Louisiana’s opening drive, SCR-I looked poised to score on its first possession, but a penalty and a bad snap forced SCR-I to turn the ball over on downs. That set up the only score of the night for the home team as Derek Richards scored on a 15-yard run with 4:47 left in the first quarter to put the Bulldogs ahead 6-0.
The deficit lasted just one snap for SCR-I, as Will Fromm hit Matthew Woods for a 65-yard touchdown on the first snap of SCR-I’s next possession. The senior quarterback ran in the two point conversion to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead.
It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing from there for SCR-I. Richards led another drive across midfield before Eli Kigar pounced on a fumble to give the Tigers the ball back.
Jaydan Payne broke a 17-yard run and Fromm connected with Parker Triplett for a 27 yard completion. That set up a three-yard TD run by Kaden Anders. Fromm ran in the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-6.
Parker Triplett ended the next Louisiana drive with an acrobatic interception. Payne moved the chains with an 11 yard run and Fromm connected with Anders on a 26-yard pass play. Fromm capped off the drive with a four-yard TD run. Triplett ran in the two-point conversion to push the margin to 24-6 with 8:06 left in the second period.
Louisiana threatened to trim the lead with a scoring drive, but the Bulldogs were turned away on fourth and goal to go when Payne picked off a pass in the end zone.
Louisiana got the ball back with an interception of its own and again was in scoring position before a sack by Branton Burrus and Grant McRobert ended the threat.
The momentum was short lived as a botched handoff two plays later turned into the second SCR-I turnover off the first half.
But after a Bulldogs punt, SCR-I finally got the ship righted. Fromm hit Woods with a nine-yard pass play before the senior put the team in scoring position with a leaping catch that netted his team 37 more yards.
Fromm scored on a six-yard run to give SCR-I a 30-6 lead heading into the half.
SCR-I took the opening kickoff of the second half and quickly added to the lead. Payne moved the chains with an 11 yard run. Fromm then did the rest, breaking a 51-yard TD run with 10:35 left in the third period. Fromm hit Woods for the two-point conversion to make the score 38-6.
The Tigers were back in the end zone less than a minute later. Kigar collected his second fumble recovery of the game. Payne accounted for all 28 yards of the scoring drive with a trio of runs, the last of which was a 15-yard TD to push the lead to 44-6 with 9:43 left in the third period.
The SCR-I junior varsity earned some valuable playing time, netting nearly a quarter and a half with the game out of reach for the Bulldogs.
Scotland County finished the contest with 438 yards of total offense. Fromm completed eight of 13 passes for 176 yards a TD and an interception. He also ran the ball 11 times for 173 yards and three TDs. Woods caught five passes for 123 yards and a TD. Payne ran the ball 12 times for 79 yards and a score.
The Tigers’ defense limited Louisiana to just 186 yards of offense. Payne and Fromm each had eight tackles while McRobert, Mason Kliethermes and Luke Triplett each made seven stops.
Scotland County closed out the regular season on a seven game winning streak to post a 7-2 record. The Tigers will host Paris in the opening round of the Class 1 District Tournament on Friday.