A dominant effort by the Scotland County defense made life miserable for the Marlboro County Bulldogs last Friday night. The Scots held their hosts to under 60 yards of total offense and only three first downs.
Although Marlboro managed to stay in the game until the fourth quarter, thanks to a solid effort by their own defense, the Bulldogs fell to the Scots, 27-6.
The win avenged a 41-25 blowout victory by the Bulldogs last year.
"Obviously, we weren't very effective on offense. Scotland has a very good team and they were crowding the line of scrimmage to take away our running game. We couldn't complete enough passes to back them up," said Marlboro County head coach Bobby Collins.
"Our defense played with the effort and intensity it takes to win the game but our offense didn't do the same," he said.
Scotland marched into Bulldog territory with the initial possession of the game. However, the Marlboro defense stiffened and forced the ball over on downs.
The first three-and-out of the night by the Bulldogs resulted in the Scots receiving a punt just across midfield. The Bulldogs would punt after three plays on eight of their eleven offensive possessions.
A pass by the Scots moved the ball to the Bulldogs' 30 and a screen play got them to the 12. R. J. Nicholson raced into the endzone from there.
The Bulldogs drove from their own 21 into Scot territory with the ensuing possession. However, a penalty and sack ended the drive.
Scotland gave the Bulldogs an opportunity, throwing up an ill-advised pass deep in their own end of the field. Bulldog safety Skishawn Palmer made a diving interception at the Scots' 38.
A run by quarterback Darius Grant gave the Bulldogs a first down at the 26-yard line.
Three plays later, Marlboro appeared to have scored a potential tying touchdown. Grant hit Jamiek McCoy with a pass at the 15-yard line. McCoy pulled away from a tackler and ran over another on the way to the endzone.
However, a penalty negated the play. An incompletion in the endzone turned it over on downs.
"That was a huge turn for us. If we had scored there and gained some confidence, it might have played out very different," said Collins.
Late in the second quarter, a fumble by the Bulldog offense set up a Scotland score. After the ball was stripped from a Marlboro rusher, the Scots took possession at the Bulldog 8.
It took four plays but the Scots got in the endzone with a pass from "wildcat" quarterback Bruce Wall to Jason Romero. Scotland held a 14-0 lead at intermission.
Both defenses controlled the action for most of the third quarter. The Bulldogs used a turnover to get on the scoreboard.
A high snap sailed by Scotland quarterback Tyler Barfield. Barfield attempted to fall on it but the ball squirted free, ending up in the hands of Marlboro middle linebacker Quincy Graham.
The senior rambled 37 yards to the endzone. Even after a failed extra point attempt, the Bulldogs had new life, trailing 14-6.
After an exchange of punts, the Scots regained control of the game, marching 70 yards for a touchdown. A penalty on the Bulldogs helped keep the march alive.
The Scots scored on a fourth down run by backup quarterback Mandrell Johnson.
Scotland sealed the game with their next possession, pounding the exhausted Bulldog defense with runs right up the middle. Kyshaun Galberth capped the 82-yard march with a 10-yard blast.
"We can expect everybody else we play to use the same defensive approach that Scotland did until we solve our offensive problems. We'll spend the next week concentrating on that," said Collins.
The Bulldogs fall to 1-2 while the Scots remain undefeated at 3-0. Marlboro County has this Friday off.
They will take on South Florence next Friday at Memorial Stadium in Florence. Five of the next six MCHS contests will be on the road. Their next home game will be October 4 when they host North Myrtle Beach.