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Scotland Rallies Past Hoke, 34-19

October 13, 2012
Hoke County High School

RAEFORD- Scotland senior TraShawn Gregory was the intended target on half a dozen passes from quarterback Jaylend Ratliffe on Friday night before the receiver finally secured a catch.

But that catch - a 58-yard leaping grab early in the fourth quarter - was worth the wait. The 6-foot-3 Gregory out-jumped 5-9 defender Detrez Newsome for the scoring reception, the first of three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of the Scots' 34-19 victory at Hoke County.

"I had some dropped passes, but the coaches believed in me," Gregory said. "On that one, instead of running, I came back and jumped for it to catch the ball."

The Fighting Scots (7-1, 3-0 Southeastern 4-A) overcame a 19-0 first-half deficit, built by the Bucks (7-2, 1-2) on the heels of a muffed punt and an early fumble by Scotland, to capture the win.

Gregory's lone catch made him the top receiver on the night. Ratliffe finished with six completions on 20 attempts for 102 yards, pushing the sophomore quarterback over the 1,000-yard passing mark on the season for a total of 1,016 yards in the air.

Ratliffe reached the benchmark on a less-than-stellar night for the Scotland offense, which struggled to counter what coach Richard Bailey said was an unexpected defensive scheme from the Bucks.

"They were doing something totally different from anything we'd seen on the three films we shared," Bailey said. "We made some adjustments at halftime, came up with a Plan B, and the kids came out and executed."

Hoke County capitalized on short-field chances early in the game, starting in Scotland territory on the Bucks' first three series. Newsome, in his offensive roll as the Bucks' top rusher, scored all of Hoke's touchdowns, twice on short rushes and a final score on an 83-yard break through the middle of the Scotland line.

Newsome led all rushers with 171 yards on 32 carries.

The senior running back had little help moving the ball, as quarterback Geoffrey Thompson, who ran for 21 yards, was the Bucks' only other rusher in double digits.

Newsome's three scores gave Hoke a 19-0 lead before Scotland could adjust to the Bucks' defense. Scotland managed a touchdown in the second quarter on a 9-yard run by Josh McPhatter to trail 19-7 at halftime.

While Hoke stalled, Scotland broke out in the second half. Junior Trejon Monley returned a punt four minutes into the third quarter 58 yards to put the Scots in range at 19-14.

Gregory followed with his scoring catch, and senior Jalen McLean added two more touchdowns on short runs to put the game out of the reach of the Bucks.

"Our offense did just enough," Bailey said. "But our defense won us this game."

Hoke coach Milton Butts pointed to Monley's punt return and a failed conversion attempt by his Bucks as being key turning points in the game.

"That punt return hurt," the coach said. "And we had two downs to get two yards and couldn't do it. Credit to them, but we didn't execute."

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