This is one of those weeks where it is easy for the Richmond Senior football team to look ahead and see an undefeated Scotland County on Oct. 28.
Who can blame them?
The Raiders-Fighting Scots matchup could easily be the game of the year. Granted the state’s top-ranked team Mallard Creek and two-time defending state champion Butler battled in the season opener, but this contest will mean more.
It will be the game which will more than likely determine the Southeastern Conference champion, a high seed in the state playoffs and perhaps more than anything, bragging rights for another season.
However, before anyone begins to turn all of their attention and focus to Pate Stadium, there is the proverbial trap game with Pinecrest this Friday.
The Patriots are coming off a hard-fought victory over Purnell Swett and are a deceiving 4-5 on the season. Their five losses have come to schools with a combined record of 30-8.
Richmond coach Paul Hoggard knows how dangerous Pinecrest can be. Of the teams in the SEC besides the Fighting Scots, the Patriots are tied with Purnell Swett with the second-most victories against the Raiders with two. One of those victories came in the 2008 season, when Pinecrest defeated the eventual state champions, 31-28.
Hoggard told his team after knocking Lumberton from the ranks of the unbeaten to focus on Pinecrest and not let their eyes wander further than Friday night.
And he knows what can happen with a momentary lack of focus. Three years ago, the Raiders were coming off wins against Jack Britt and Westover with Pinecrest sandwiched between a Douglas Byrd showdown. The Buccaneers advanced to the 4AA finals against Richmond, while the Eagles took on Seventy-First in the 4A championship game.
And as much as a coach tries to tell a player to keep their eyes on this week’s opponent, they visit the internet message boards and see the fans foaming at the mouth at the prospect of Scotland County and Richmond meeting on the field for the SEC crown.
That’s a contest everyone wants to see, however, both the Raiders and the Fighting Scots have to take care of their business this Friday before thinking about the next.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com