While the Marlboro County offense has been successful moving the ball, coach Bobby Collins thinks some adjustments can make them more efficient.
"We have to clean up the penalties. Those are drive killers. Some of it is just focusing more on what we're doing, such as when we had false starts. Other times it is a technique thing that leads to a penalty," said Collins.
The Bulldogs were plagued by flags last Friday against Cheraw. Several times penalties cut short promising drives and also called back a punt return that would have given the Bulldogs the ball inside the Braves' 5-yard line.
The penalty bug was one that stung the 2018 Bulldogs frequently and despite all the changes in the program, this problem remains.
As the team prepares to face Scotland County, Collins is also looking to make things more simple for their quarterback.
"Darius Grant has done well so far, especially in running with the football. In the passing game, we have to cut down the time he is holding the ball in the pocket," said Collins.
"Some of that is caused by us asking him to read too many things. Part of it is that he may be trying to do too much on each play," said Collins.
Getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands will be a priority if the Bulldogs are to defeat Scotland County for a second consecutive year. The Scots have a ferocious pass rush and registered 11 sacks in just two games.
As of Tuesday, the Bulldogs are going ahead with the assumption that Friday's game will go ahead as planned.
"We are monitoring Hurricane Dorian and will change as needed. We had a good Monday practice and things should be fine for today. Hopefully, we can get Wednesday's practice in. Even if the weather prevents a Thursday practice, we should be ready to play on Friday," said Collins Tuesday morning.
He said that if conditions are worse than expected, the game could be pushed to Saturday or even Monday.
This is the third time in the last four years that the Marlboro - Scotland contest has faced weather issues. In 2016, the game was pushed up to Thursday to avoid heavy thunderstorms that were predicted for that Friday. The following year, the game was completely rained out as torrential storms swamped McAlpine Stadium.
Around the region
Myrtle Beach and Hartsville remain ranked one and two in this week’s state sports writers’ poll. North Myrtle Beach is ranked fourth and Wilson eighth.
Myrtle Beach (1-0) is scheduled to face Laurens Friday night but the hurricane may force cancellation of that contest. Hartsville is to host Camden, NMB is at West Brunswick (NC) but that game may also be a victim of the hurricane. Wilson faces South Florence.
Darlington is 0-2 after getting steamrolled by West Florence, 47-6. They face Class A power Lamar Friday night.
Scouting the Scots
The signature win for the 2018 Marlboro County football team was a 41-25 pasting of the Scots on August 31.
The Scots went on to lose three more games and just made the North Carolina Class AAAA playoffs. Then they caught fire.
Scotland County won four straight road playoff games to reach the state championship. They held a late lead but fell to East Forsyth 35-28.
While star running back Syheam "Smiley" McQueen has graduated, many of the other ingredients in that playoff run return. The Scots have blasted Southeast Guilford 27-3 to open the year and last week hammered Hoggard, 40-13.
Tyler Barfield and Mandrell Johnson share the quarterbacking duties, as they did last year. Barfield is the more polished passer while Johnson is a huge threat to run the ball.
The Scots will still pass with Johnson in the game as he tossed a 58-yard scoring strike.
Darrius Dockery, Savion Leak, R.J. Nicholson and Hoke County transfer Kyshaun Galberth are sharing the running duties. Dockery is speedy while Galberth is a pounding runner. Leak rushed for 111 yards last week against Hoggard.
The offensive line is big and experienced.
The defense has been fierce in the two previous games, forcing eight turnovers and the aforementioned 11 sacks.
Leaders include defensive linemen Jason Romero (East Carolina commit), Dashay Singletary and Zymere Reddick and linebackers Ladarrius McNeill and Nick Callahan. Callahan was the leading tackler on the team last season.
Keys to the game
The Scots have been creating havoc for opposing offenses, forcing fumbles and interceptions at an amazing rate.
The Bulldogs will have to be very protective of the ball and move it consistently to keep the Scots offense on the sidelines.
Tee it up
The Bulldogs and Scots are scheduled to kick off at 7:30 Friday at McAlpine Stadium. Any changes to that caused by the weather will be posted on heraldadvocate.com and our Facebook page.