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Thursday’s Scotland County-Mallard Creek prep football season opener getting fans excited

In a file photo, Mallard Creek players take the field before a game against Hough. The Mavericks play at state power Scotland County Thursday
In a file photo, Mallard Creek players take the field before a game against Hough. The Mavericks play at state power Scotland County Thursday dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

The population of Laurinburg, N.C. -- where state football powers Mallard Creek and Scotland County will kick off the football season Thursday night -- is about 15,000.

Scotland County football coach Richard Bailey said he expects as many as 8,000 people, many from Laurinburg, to fill the stands for Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. game. It’s the first game of the high school football season and it’s a big one.

LINK: Why Mallard Creek, Scotland County are reluctantly headed to mega prep football showdown

Scotland County is ranked No. 2 in two statewide preseason polls. Mallard Creek is No. 3.

Both teams are state championship contenders: Scotland in N.C. 4A; Mallard Creek in 4AA.

“It’s a big deal down here,” Bailey said. “We have a big fanbase and we always sell a lot of tickets, and tickets are flying off the shelf down here. But this feels like a late-round playoff game.”

Bailey said his school gave Mallard Creek 1,000 tickets to sell pregame and that the Mavericks were having a busload of fans coming.

“I suspect,” Bailey said, “if you’re coming, that you better get here early.”

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