LAURINBURG — Two teams going in opposite directions will hit the field tonight coming off their open date.
Scotland will look to remain undefeated at home against Goldsboro before opening Southeastern Conference play at Purnell Swett.
Hoke County, on the other hand, is still searching for its initial victory of the 2013 campaign. The Bucks will travel to Westover tonight in a battle of winless teams.
The remaining four SEC schools — Lumberton, Pinecrest, Purnell Swett and Richmond — have the night off before beginning league play.
Goldsboro at Scotland
Coaches: Eric Reid, Goldsboro. Richard Bailey, Scotland.
Records: Goldsboro 2-3. Scotland 5-0.
Last game: Northside blanked Goldsboro 24-0. Scotland rolled past New Hanover before its open date last week.
Tidbits: It sounds like a broken record but Jaylend Ratliffe keeps showing week in and week out why he could repeat as the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year. Ratliffe has thrown for nine touchdowns and ran for another seven. The junior has accounted for 16 of his team’s 27 offensive touchdowns so far this season. Goldsboro running back Rashied Malette leads the team with 603 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Quarterback Nashir Bowden has tossed five touchdowns.
Hoke County at Westover
Coaches: Milton Butts, Hoke. Greg Bryant, Westover.
Records: Hoke 0-5. Westover 0-5.
Last game: E.E. Smith breezed to a 40-14 victory over Hoke two weeks ago. Union Pines ruined Westover’s homecoming 13-6.
Tidbits: Turnovers, this has been the biggest problem for Hoke this season, turned it over 13 times. The Bucks are averaging just over 22 points on offense but are surrendering 36. Jacob Rushing still leads the team with 239 yards and four touchdowns on the ground despite missing two games. Linebacker Justin Baldwin has a team-high 13 tackles for loss. Just like Hoke, turnovers have plagued Westover. The Wolverines have 15 turnovers in their five games. Westover has been anemic on offense, scoring just six touchdowns and are averaging just under eight points a contest.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.