* Editor’s note — This feature article, written by Andy Griffin, originally ran in the November, 2011 issue of Southern Utah Youth Sports magazine. It was written and published about two-thirds of the way through Hurricane’s perfect 2011 championship season. In celebration of the life of Brian Scott, who passed away early Tuesday morning after losing his battle with acute myeloid leukemia, we have decided to re-publish this article in its entirety, as-is.
Those who follow 3A football in the state of Utah can list them off pretty easily – Brian Scott, Jarom Healy, Robert Reeve, Gordie Dotson, Kenny Scott – the hard-nosed guys that played the cornerstone position of fullback for Hurricane during the Tigers amazing last six years of football.
None of them are “pretty boys,” looking for a cover shot on GQ. They rarely streaked down the sideline or even went out for a pass. The number of bone-rattling hits they have taken usually is equal to the number of plays they have played. Fullbacks never get a play off.
But what they did, and what Brian Scott is still doing, is go to work every day, line up a yard or two behind the quarterback, and take a quick hand-off into a melee of rip-snorting defenders. Even when they don’t get the ball, some defender is assigned to blast them into oblivion, if possible.
Sounds fun, eh?
In 2004, when Hurricane’s coaching staff decided to focus on a single offensive philosophy, the Wing-T, they knew they needed a tough guy who could absorb dozens of blows each game, keep his legs chugging and get up and do it again the next week.
That guy was Brian Scott’s older brother, Kenny.
“We thought we would use a system that would utilize the kind of kids that we felt would be coming through the Hurricane program,” Tigers head coach Chris Homer said. “Guys with a lot of heart. Guys like Kenny Scott.”
The 2005 season will always be remembered in Hurricane Valley. It was the year the Tigers finally beat mighty Pine View. It was the year the Tigers motored all the way to the state semifinals without a defeat. It was the year the Wing-T emerged as the baddest offense in the land, some 50 years after Ara Parseghian’s Notre Dame teams popularized it in the college ranks (Parseghian’s Fighting Irish won the National Championship using the Wing-T in 1966).
Kenny Scott ran for 1,408 yards and 16 touchdowns that season. He was the head of the snake, the leader of the pack, quite literally sticking his nose in the middle of the fray.
“He started it all,” Brian Scott says. “I really loved to watch him play. It was my drive. I wanted to be as good as my brother.”
Brian is six years younger than Kenny. That would make him a starry-eyed 11-year old when Kenny was racking up those yards and TDs and wins.
“We weren’t that close back then,” Brian says. “I’m sure he just looked at me as a little kid. We are a lot closer now.”
Kenny agrees. “We talk a lot now, especially about the program and how good they are. It wasn’t just me in 2005. We had a special group of guys. Jaron Ewell, Mike Long, Chancen Hall. A great offensive line. We were like a family. I think they have that this year, too.”
Under Homer’s tutelage, the Tigers have an amazing 64-22 record over the past seven seasons, winning at a rate of nearly 75 percent. Quarterbacks have been in and out. The wing guys in the Wing-T have been honed for speed, some years having it and others not.
But the one constant has been the hard-working fullbacks.
“Being in this program at Hurricane has taught me how to push myself,” Brian says. “Coach always talks about how the St. George schools are white collar and we are the blue collar guys, bringing our lunch pail to work every day. They probably have some blue collar, too, but he was saying we need to work hard every day. That’s what we do.”
In an informal poll of the Hurricane coaches, each named Brian’s heart as his biggest asset. Those on the staff from 2005 (which is most of the coaches), say the same thing about Kenny.
“It’s something extra special that (they) have,” offensive coordinator Steve Pearson said. “It’s that desire to get that one more yard or break that one last tackle. (They’re) nearly impossible to stop for a loss.”
The Scott brothers point to another sport as one of the sources of that tremendous desire. “I learned a lot of it from wrestling,” Brian says. “Out there on the mat it’s just you and the other guy. It’s one on one. If you don’t come out and perform you are going to lose. If you don’t go all out, you won’t win. That’s wrestling in a nutshell.”
Kenny agrees, saying, “wrestling helps because you can’t rely on anyone else.”
The two boys know what they’re talking about when it comes to wrestling. Kenny won state twice at the 189-pound weight class, while Brian won the 215-class his sophomore and junior years and hopes to step up to 220 and win a third title this season.
Neither Kenny, nor Brian will admit to being super competitive with each other. But the numbers as the main cog in the vaunted Hurricane offense are amazingly similar.
In 22 games as a Tiger starter in 2003-04, Kenny gained 2,054 yards and scored 25 touchdowns. He averaged 93.4 yards per game and 7.03 yards per carry.
In 2010 and 2011 (also 22 games), Brian has gained 1,949 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. Brian has averaged 88.6 yards per game and 7.58 yards per carry.
The big difference is Brian is not done yet. The senior’s script for the rest of his high school career is still unwritten.
“Kenny and those guys started this and us guys this year don’t want to stop it,” Brian said. “I don’t know what my numbers are, but I would like to beat his numbers or at least be right there with them.”
When all is said and done, Brian probably will beat his brother – In yards, in wrestling titles and in wins.
But the elephant in the room is the one thing the Tigers, not with the Scott brothers or Dotson , Healy or Reeve, have been able to do: Win a state championship.
“I think they can do it this year,” Kenny says. “Brian should be able to beat my rushing yards. But I think we’d both trade them all for a state title.”
Kenny’s 2005 squad was crushed in the semifinal 59-29 by that record-setting Logan team. But time has healed much of that wound. Like many other Hurricane fans, Kenny is more stung by the three years of heartbreak the Tigers have suffered at the hands of Juan Diego, a private school in Salt Lake County.
“We have to beat Juan Diego,” Kenny says. “This has been really frustrating. We want to beat them so bad and we don’t care where or when.”
Brian is a little more subtle in his opinion on the topic, though he is every bit as passionate.
“I just want to win, to take that next step,” he says. “You can feel the passion in the coaches. They feel it as much or more than anyone. Winning state is definitely our goal, no matter who we end up playing.”
For the uninitiated, Hurricane has lost to the Juan Diego Soaring Eagle in the 3A championship game for three straight years, and by a combined seven points.
On Nov. 21 of 2008, Juan Diego kicker Jaron Bentrude booted a 23-yard field goal with three seconds left to beat Hurricane the first time.
A Hail Mary pass from Cody Stevenson to Bruce Nix as time expired 364 days later gave the Soaring Eagle their second straight state title, a 12-10 win.
Then, on Nov. 19, 2010, Juan Diego used its own brand of smash-mouth football and drove 90 yards in the game’s final seven minutes to crush the Hurricane spirits again. Skyler Doran booted a 20-yard field goal as time expired for the 10-7 final margin.
“We don’t really talk about it with the kids because, really, that was a different group, a different team every time we lost,” Homer said. “But it’s not like it’s a secret or anything. The kids know.”
For Brian, he wants to win it, not to beat his brother, but for his brother … and all the other past Hurricane players.
“They’re the ones that made Hurricane what it is today,” he said. “We just want to keep it going, not drop the ball. Playing at Hurricane has meant so much to me and my friends. It has taught me so much about life.”
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, Kenny and Brian and all the former and current Tigers will do just fine. They have learned perspective.
“One of my favorite moments ever in playing football here is not a touchdown or a win,” Brian said. “It’s those rainy days when Coach (Gordon) Dotson would have us do gut-busters on the soaking wet field. Last year in the mud, we would just have a blast. I’ll never forget that.”
Now that’s some blue-collar fun.
* Note: Brian did pass Kenny and ended up with 2,573 career yards and 40 touchdowns. He also won a third state championship in wrestling and, most importantly to folks in Hurricane, he helped the Tigers win the 2011 3A state football championship.
- Former Hurricane football, wrestling star passes after battle with leukemia
- Fundraiser for former MVP with leukemia tonight
- Old School Andy: Attitude is Brian Scott’s biggest ally in fight for life
- Scott runs for three touchdowns in win over Panthers
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