Scotlandville High had its share of football struggles and improvements in 2010.
The words offensive juggernaut were never used to describe the Hornets as they compiled a 3-7 record.
That has all changed in less than two weeks.
By scoring 98 points in jamboree and Week 1 victories, Scotlandville has given opponents plenty to talk about.
“I’m not sure if we scored a total of 98 points all last year,” Scotlandville offensive coordinator Mark Brown said. “The way these guys have responded to what we want to do is really something to see.”
Now the task for the Class 5A Hornets is simple - prove their offense is more than a conversation piece when they travel to play fourth-ranked Parkview Baptist, of Class 3A, at 7 p.m. Friday.
The key tactical change for Scotlandville was a move to a spread offense. Second-year Scotlandville coach Ken Hilton said the success the Hornets have enjoyed has more to do with attitude than Xs and Os.
“I think being in the spread has helped us,” Hilton said. “But the biggest difference I see is the attitude and maturity these guys have.
“There’s no talk about I now, it’s all about team. They (Scotlandville players) have grown up and they’re comfortable with each other and with what we’re doing.”
The leaders for the Scotlandville offense include two seniors, quarterback Kimani Smith and running back Kajandre Domino. Junior receivers Larry Clark and Cevon Cage have also made their mark in a 38-0 jamboree win over 1A Southern Lab and a 60-0 win over 2A Redemptorist on Friday.
Scotlandville ran for 190 yards and Smith passed for 116 yards in the win over Redemptorist. Seven Hornets scored TDs. “I had to get over my fears about being a leader and becoming one,” Smith said. “Last year, I worried about making mistakes.
“This year I have more confidence in myself. We all trust each other and believe we can make plays. We didn’t have that last year. Instead of being nervous and worrying about what will happen we just play.”
Domino is a key part of the rushing and passing attack for the Hornets. Last week, he ran for a TD and caught a TD pass. Hilton lauds the way Domino has improved his blocking.
“You can see a difference in Kimani and the way he handles himself in the pocket,” Domino said. “I think we’ve all gotten better and stronger. Our speed and our route running as a team is better.”
Clark is in his second year at Scotlandville after transferring from Capitol. Like Smith, he feels more comfortable with his role and the Scotlandville offense.
“When we throw the ball, it’s up to the receivers to make plays,” Clark said. “I know there is still plenty we can improve on. One of the things I need to improve on is catching the ball over the middle.”
Cage said the move to the spread was the right one for the Hornets.
“We need to spread the ball around on offense like we’ve been doing,” Cage said. “That means getting a lot of people involved catching the ball and running it. If we do both, I think we can score points.”
The Hornets and Hilton know Parkview represents a different challenge. The Eagles are the defending Class 3A state champions.
“Parkview is going to be our biggest test yet for several reasons,” Hilton said. “First of all, they’ll be the first team we’ve played that doesn’t run a spread offense.
“They’re the kind of team that lines up and comes right at you. And they’re so physical on offense and defense.
“I’m so proud of our guys for what we’ve done so far. They know this is a totally different challenge. We’ll know where we stand after Friday night.”