LAURINBURG, N.C. --- North Carolina pledge Jonathan Smith’s goal line interception with less than 30 seconds remaining enabled Scotland County (11-0) to end the regular season undefeated and beat rival Richmond County, 28-21.
Scotland built a 28-0 lead late in the third quarter, but Richmond marched back to bring it within a touchdown and recovered the ensuing touchdown. The Raiders were ten yards away from tying the game when Smith made his interception.
Jonathan Smith, Scotland, 2016
Richmond not only ran away from Smith, who lined up in every gap at some point during the game, the Raiders’ offense used misdirections to avoid him. No matter, Smith ended with a game-high 14 tackles, including two for a loss. He also broke up a pass and had that legend-building interception.
Smith’s range and relentlessness is what allowed him to impact the game so much in spite of Richmond’s game plan. And although he had a couple uncharacteristic miss tackles on Friday, ball carriers typically have no chance when Smith was within arm’s reach.
While the statistics are certainly important, Smith’s intangibles need to be mentioned. Smith is quiet by nature, but plays with genuine excitement which his teammates feed off of. Additionally, he was quite clutch. The INT speaks for itself, but on the play prior he wrapped up the QB at the line-of-scrimmage on a zone read, despite dealing with the exhaustion of back-to-back long drives without a break.
Zamir White, Scotland, 2018
Similar to Smith, it was obvious that Richmond’s game plan was to limit White’s impact. As such, three of his first four carries ended at or behind the line-of-scrimmage. Once Scotland began using White as a decoy, others benefited and White was provided enough running room for 75 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries (it was the first time all season that White hadn’t eclipsed 100 yards).
On White’s touchdown, a 24-yard scamper off tackle, he showed that he’s not just a power back. He used a slight juke to evade a defender on the edge and then bolted into the end zone completely untouched.
There was a scary moment just before halftime on a 22-yard run. White broke into the open field and then completely juked a defender out of the screen. But, untouched it appeared that White’s knee had given out on him and he stumbled to the ground. He was helped off the field and missed the remainder of the drive. He returned for the next offensive series, but didn’t have another carry until the second half.