Injury-riddled Scott back at full strength
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's a brand new season for Scott in more ways than one.
The seventh-seeded Skyhawks (7-3) are finally healthy after injuries swept through the team the past couple of weeks, and they look to begin a long playoff run against No. 10 Wyoming East (7-3) at 7:30 tonight in Madison in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs.
Scott lost several key linemen and running backs while dropping three of its last four to Wayne (47-6), Robert C. Byrd (23-0) and Logan (16-3).
When the Skyhawks were healthy they were formidable, winning their first six games and averaging 36.7 points behind a massive offensive line and a stable of talented backs.
"We really feel comfortable in the fact we're getting healthy again,'' said Scott coach Shane Griffith. "We're hoping that makes a big difference. This week coming will be the first time we're back on the field healthy.
"We've got everybody in the skill positions back. We're really looking for that to start clicking again for us. The senior leaders on this team wanted to push this to not be just a playoff team, but a deep run.''
Griffith firmly believes the trials Scott has been through will serve it well as the second season kicks off.
"To go through that stretch and battle through it especially when you're playing Wayne, RCB and Logan ... sometimes adversity opens the door for successes down the road,'' he said.
"I think some of the things we've learned are going to pay off for us. Sometimes when the road travels too smooth you tend to get relaxed. This team is one that has had to battle through and it's calloused enough to take on some adversity.''
Scott junior Robert Bias leads a stable a trio of quick tailbacks with 1,000 yards on 152 carries for a 6.6-yard average and eight touchdowns. Junior Cam Loftus (729 yards, nine TDs) and sophomore Tristan Crone (496 yards, 10 TDs) are also capable threats. Junior quarterback Cody Brown has added 500 yards passing with six scores and only two interceptions.
Griffith said he and the coaching staff had to revamp the offense to account for injured starters not in the lineup, which he thinks will keep opponents guessing.
"That's really helped us as a team become better,'' he said. "Some of those things we were forced into the last few weeks are going to pay off for us now.''
East, which comes in on a two-game winning streak, also relies heavily on its ground attack with Jacob Summe turning in 1,209 yards with eight TDs while Chris Cecils has added 430 yards and 10 scores and signal-caller Aaron Griffith has chipped in 348 yards and three TDs. Griffith also gives East a passing element with 423 yards and seven scores against two picks.
"We've got to put some points on the board early to just show ourselves we've got that swagger back,'' Griffith said. "Our defense has played pretty good the last couple of weeks considering how bad our offense has been.
"We have to trust ourselves that we are very battle tested. I think a lot of it rests on our offensive line. Can they take the game over like we did at the start of the season?''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.