“We’ve got to come in and finish this one unlike the other years,” Scott said.
>> PHOTOS: Springfield’s road to the 2023 state championship game
The Wildcats have one more chance to accomplish a feat no other team in Clark County has achieved since the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff era began in 1972 — win a state football championship.
“Over the weekend, I thought about it and got emotional knowing tha it’s my last game,” Scott said. “I feel like unlike other years we wanted to win but I felt like a lot of players were just happy to be there. This time, I know it’s my last time ever getting to play at state. We’re about to go against the team we lost to the last two years, so why not try to make it different this time?”
Growing up, Scott dreamt of leading the Wildcats to the state championship game as a quarterback. He played defense during his pee wee and middle school days, but admitted he really “didn’t know what I was doing.”
“I was just an athlete who would play both ways,” Scott said. “I didn’t really work on any (defensive back) stuff, I was just trying to perfect my craft at quarterback.”
He played quarterback on the Wildcats junior varsity team as a freshman, but Springfield coach Maurice Douglass knew Scott could be a special player at defensive back.
“I remember watching him in middle school and I knew he could play cornerback then,” Douglass said. “He wanted the ball in his hand and like most kids he ventured to the offensive side of the ball.”
During Scott’s freshman year, Douglass would put him at cornerback during 1-on-1 drills to see how he would compete, he said.
“You could see that if he worked at this thing, he could be a really good player,” Douglass said.
After basketball season was over, Douglass called Scott and his family to tell him he was planning to move him to cornerback as a sophomore.
“I told them he could play on Sundays if he plays DB and works at it,” Douglass said.
At first, Scott wasn’t happy with the switch, hoping it would last for one season before he moved back to quarterback.
“It was tough,” Scott said. “I didn’t want to change. When (Douglass) told me that, I thought about not even playing football any more. I felt like I didn’t have a role on the football team and I didn’t want to be around watching if I didn’t really love the sport any more. I just gave it a chance because I knew we had a good team. I ended up doing well, so I just stuck with it.”
In his first season at cornerback, Scott had 20 tackles as the Wildcats advanced to their first-ever state championship game.
“I used to get mad if I even got one pass caught on me,” Scott said. “I only got scored on one time that season by (former Miamisburg and current LSU Tight End Jackson McGohan). He was much bigger and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was still new to everything and that game really humbled me.”
After that season, the college scholarship offers started piling up, he said. At that point, he knew he likely wouldn’t move back to quarterback. As a junior, Scott had 21 tackles and five interceptions, returning two for TDs as the Wildcats again advanced to Canton last winter.
In July, Scott committed to Ohio State after receiving more than 30 Division I scholarship offers. The four-star recruit is ranked No. 38 nationally in the Class of 2024 by 247sports.com.
“He’s worked on his craft, watched a lot of film, watched other guys do drills and has been able to learn and build on what we’ve instilled in him,” Douglass said. “(Defensive backs coach Derrick Atterberry) has done a great job with him and I’m happy to be able to play the same position he played and drop some nuggets on him. I think it’s been a blessing for both of us to be able to work together. I’m just so proud of him.”
As the Wildcats injuries piled earlier this season, Scott moved back under center during crucial situations for Springfield. He’s rushed for 223 yards and seven TDs and passed for 155 yards and three TDs this season.
With junior starting quarterback Brent Upshaw, Jr. healthy, Scott has provided a spark as a goal-line quarterback for Springfield throughout the playoff run, rushing for four TDs this postseason.
Scott threw the game-winning touchdown pass in Springfield’s 26-19 overtime victory against Moeller in the state semifinals to put the Wildcats back to Canton. Springfield planned to use Scott’s running ability in the overtime, but when his QB keeper was stuffed, he improvised, finding senior running back Jayvin Norman wide open in the end zone.
“It meant a lot,” Scott said. “I felt like if we were going to lose, I wanted to lose with the ball in my hands.”
In his final high school game, the senior hopes to do whatever it takes to bring a championship trophy back to Springfield.
“I’m just trying to leave it all on the field in Canton and then get to college and prove that everything I’m doing in high school, I can do in college,” he said.
Scott’s journey from freshman QB to four-star CB has also served as a model for Springfield’s younger players, Douglass said. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible, including scholarships from elite college programs, Douglass said.
“It puts that type of vision in your heart,” he said. “They know that it’s attainable because they’re looking at a guy that went to their middle school and played with them. They see him playing there and they say, ‘I can do that.’ I tell them all, ‘Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars’.”