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Bless the heart of Bill Redding, who stood up at the public hearing on rezoning lots for parking spaces east of ECU...

PLAYOFFS: Falcons fall at Scotland

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South Central's head coach Andy Tew talks on his headset during the Falcons' game against D.H. Conley on Nov. 3, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector

Friday, November 24, 2017

LAURINBURG — After a week of discussion about Scotland's running back position, it turned out to be the Scots' quarterback that was the biggest difference in their third-round 4-A state playoff game Friday night against South Central.

Scotland quarterback Warren Bell rushed for 368 yards and six touchdowns — and threw for two more — as the Scots ended the best season in South Central history with a 74-34 home victory.

Despite the sour ending to the season, SC (10-3) set a school record for wins and advanced past the second round of the postseason for the first time in the history of the program, a fact coach Andy Tew reminded his team of in the face of a disappointing result Friday.

"We have to make sure we understand and believe when we say one game does not define a season," he said. "That's what we've got to lean on right now. It stings, it hurts because we're competitors. We didn't put a good product on the field tonight, but one game doesn't define a team and one game doesn't define a season.

"We were here, we gave it our best shot and it was one heck of a season for the South Central Falcons."

The big question entering the game was Scotland's running back situation after Zamir White, the nation's top-ranked RB recruit, tore his ACL last week. Backup Syheam McQueen rushed for 75 yards and a pair of scores against South Central, but it was Bell that carved up the Falcons' defense on a night when Scotland rushed for more than 500 yards as a team.

Bell rushed for 290 yards and five TDs in the first half, taking his first carry 41 yards for a touchdown and scoring on runs of 46, 3, 71 and 8 yards before the break.

"Even though the one running back they had (White) went down, we knew they had a lot of weapons in the backfield, so maybe they had to lean on (Bell) a little bit more," SC coach Andy Tew said. "(McQueen) had a good game, too. We just didn't do a good job of staying over the top and getting guys on the ground. They have a good offensive line and we knew that, had good running backs and we knew that. We just had trouble tackling."

The Falcons never led and played from behind from the time the game was just 11 seconds old. Scots running back Joseph McCoy returned the game's opening kick to SC's 5-yard line, and McQueen walked in almost untouched on the first offensive play of the contest to give Scotland a 7-0 lead.

After SC went 3-and-out on its first possession, Bell rushed for his first score on the first play of the next drive, giving the Scots two touchdowns on their first two offensive plays and a 14-0 advantage.

Scotland scored on its first seven possessions and led 60-20 at halftime.

SC quarterback Dexter McDuffie threw for 290 yards and five touchdowns, but he also threw four interceptions as the Falcons were forced to largely abandon the run in the face of a daunting deficit. McDuffie rushed 18 times for 95 yards, but leading rusher Nazir Monroe-Smith logged just two carries.

Jeremy Lewis had 10 catches for 145 yards and two TDs, while brother Emannuel Lewis caught five passes for 100 and a pair of scores. Jalen Wilson caught McDuffie's other TD. Linebacker Tylando Pinckney had a 50-plus yard fumble return late that set up SC’s final touchdown.

Contact Jordan Anders at janders@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.

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