MADISON, W.Va. — The saying goes, ‘if it isn’t broke, why fix it?’
And nothing about Scott football is broken or wrong as the Skyhawks have been a constant in the playoffs over the years. However, Scott has failed to make the semifinals since 2007.
That’s why this offseason head coach Shane Griffith and his assistants decided to transform the offense from a powerful, running game to a versatile, spread offense. Griffith calls it ‘closing the gap’ on Class AA title contenders.
“When you look at Keyser, Wayne and Bluefield — the schools that we haven’t been able to defeat in the later playoff rounds, that’s our target,” Griffith said. “Going into the season, we’re going to try be as versatile with the football as we can. We feel like we have a lot of athletes coming back that have two good years of experience under their belt.”
Griffith brought back a former player to help install the spread offense this offseason. Former quarterback who went on to play defensive back at West Virginia State, Nick Mullins, is now the offensive coordinator for the Skyhawks.
While Griffith has had a hard time letting go of the power running game, his players adjusted well to learning the new schemes during the summer practice session.
“The kids have adapted really well,” he said. “They love it. As a coach the last 14 years I’ve preached control the clock, wear the other team down and impose your will on the other team with a power game. The athletes we have available to us right now are very dynamic, fast, versatile group of guys. We’re going to try to turn it loose.”
Some of the athletes featured in the new offense will be returning all-state mentions in the backfield of Cameron Loftus and Tryston Crone. Scott also brings back quarterback Cody Brown.
But maybe the biggest valuable asset at Griffith’s disposal will be center Tyler Scott. Last year, Scott was a fullback in the I-formation offense.
“Anytime you have a guy that wants to change from a skill position number to a lineman number, it really stands out to me,” Griffith said. “He came to me in March and April and told me, ‘We need a senior at that position and I think I can handle it.’”
The Skyhawks started 6-0 last season before falling to Wayne, Robert C. Byrd and Logan in final stretch the regular season – Scott eventually fell to Keyser in the quarterfinals on the playoffs.
“We always talk about every year you don’t want to go backwards,” Griffith said. “This goal and journey of trying to win a state championship has been going on for about 13 years. We want to play at home and then attempt to play round two at home.
“To accomplish that, you have to have a seven or eight win season,” he continued. “We have Lincoln County and Logan on our schedule, which are two Class AAA teams. That’s huge playoff points because you’re getting bonuses right off the bat. We let Logan slip away from us last year and that may have cost us a round two (playoff home) game.”
Meanwhile, the Scott defense underwent some makeover this offseason as well.
“I thought last year we had a solid defense, but we were more concerned about bending and not breaking,” Griffith said. “Sometimes against these upper tier teams, you have got to be aggressive. You got to try to make some plays on defense and hit some home runs. We’re going to change the dynamic of that mindset as well.”
Regardless, the ultimate goal for Griffith’s club in 2013 will be the same.
“There’s a lot of expectation and high pressure on this group because this group has it in them — to close that gap and make another step,” Griffith said.
2013 Football Schedule
|1||08/30/13 07:30PM||A||HERBERT HOOVER||-|
|2||09/06/13 07:30PM||H||LINCOLN COUNTY||-|
|9||11/01/13 07:30PM||A||ROBERT C. BYRD||-|
– Wes McKinney