Rams’ Scott realizing potential in senior season
STRASBURG – It’s a scenario Strasburg football coach Mark Roller said he sees plenty of while working with high school players.
Often with younger players, Roller said, they fail to realize their full potential early on in their high school playing careers and settle in the shadow of the more experienced upperclassmen instead of pushing hard for playing time.
One of those players was Strasburg’s Zach Scott.
“If I could go back my last two years I would,” Scott, a senior, said after practice Tuesday evening. “This year I’ve realized that you only have a little bit of football left and you have to make the most of it. This year I’ve really tried to do my best out on the field and in practice.”
It came a year later than anticipated but Scott has emerged as the player the Rams’ coaching staff had hoped he would be in 2016.
Now a two-way starter for Strasburg as a guard on the offensive line and an outside linebacker, Scott has helped pave the way for a Ram offense averaging 260.5 yards per game this season while leading the defense with 68 tackles.
“He is doing what we wanted him to do last year,” said Roller, whose team is preparing to take on King William in the first round of the Group 2A East playoffs at home Friday night. “And I know you can’t get years back and you can’t say what if, but he’s been a tremendous asset to the team both offensively and defensively.”
Scott’s standout senior season has arrived after two quiet seasons on the varsity roster. He didn’t see the field as a sophomore in 2014, and only after injuries opened a spot for Scott did he see time starting on both the offensive and defensive lines in the latter half of last season.
Scott started out the 2016 season “on fire,” Roller said, quickly emerging as one of Strasburg’s best defensive players.
What has been the difference for Scott in his senior season?
“Probably my mentality about sports and everything in general, that you’ve gotta give everything you have to be the best, if you wanna go somewhere,” Scott said.
The senior has not only had to adjust to his new role as a regular starter for the Rams. He’s had to become acclimated to a new position on defense after stepping back off the line to stake a claim at outside linebacker.
Scott said he’s had to learn to be a leader on the field, to play at a faster pace and to play tougher, an adjustment he’s made by putting in the extra effort on the practice field.
“Practice is what really helped, like going 100 percent,” said Scott, who’s listed at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds. “We’ve got a really good linebacker coach, too. Coach (Tripp) Lamb’s a really good coach, so he helped out a lot in the offseason and during practice and the regular season.”
Pay enough attention to Strasburg public address announcer Jay Ramsey during a Friday night football game at Ram Stadium and you’re certain to hear Scott’s name frequently called following a defensive play.
“He’s able to get to the football and he reads his keys well. I know Coach Lamb working with (the linebackers), he’s always harping on all those things of making sure you’re getting your keys,” Roller said. “(Scott) does a good job of listening. When you can do both those things, follow your keys and listen to what is expected and what’s coming, then you’re put in a spot that you’re gonna make plays. And that’s what he’s done is he’s done a good job of paying attention and then getting to the ball.”
Roller said Scott will play a “big impact” in Strasburg’s ability to slow down a King William offense averaging 35 points per game and coming off a 90-point performance in a blowout win last week. Scott and his fellow Rams are just hoping to extend their season at least one more week.
“We’ve gotta play as a family, have no excuses out on that field,” Scott said. “Everybody needs to do their job, play as one, be physical, be fast-paced. I feel like if we keep that up we should be fine.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org