October 24, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
37°F

Bucks’ Scott has need for speed

With a ton of talented juniors, the Buckeye football team could be very good next season. But Nate Scott and the rest of the 11th-grade group are still planning on doing some big things in 2014.
“We’re looking like a solid team coming off a good year last year,” the wide receiver/cornerback said of the Bucks, who went 6-5 overall, finished in a three-way tie atop the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division with a 6-1 record and qualified for the Division III state playoffs last season. “We have a lot of potential for this year and next year, especially. We have a lot of high hopes for this year and next year.”
A two-way starter as a sophomore, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Scott, who has 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash, will be counted on heavily on both sides of the ball.
“He’s one of the fastest kids on the team — and he got faster in track,” second-year Buckeye coach Mark Pinzone said. “He really ended up doing a great job of getting to the edge in our jet offense. He understands the game and has improved catching the ball.
“From what we’ve seen, he’s improved tremendously running his routes and understanding what he sees. We expect a lot from him.”
Scott, who ran the 100 and 200 meters for the Buckeye track team, caught five passes for 35 yards and carried the ball 36 times for 269 yards last season, but those numbers figure to go up considerably this year.
The junior might not always run the longest route in the passing game, but he’s capable of using his legs to turn a short catch into a big gain.
“I’m an open-field person,” Scott said. “I like to get the ball and try to do something with it.”
With close friend and classmate Nate Polidori slated to play quarterback, Scott won’t lack chemistry with his signal caller.
“We’ve known each other since kindergarten, so we have a great friendship,” Scott said. “It’s one of those special things. He’s always looking at me and Trevor (Thome) and always delivers it to us.”
Thome, another junior, will combine with Scott to give the Bucks a pair of players with big-play ability, whether it’s running the ball or catching it.
“Those are the guys we’ll try to get the ball to,” Pinzone said. “We have a load of other people we can get it to as well, but we’re certainly trying to find ways to get the ball in those two players’ hands. We’re going to scheme to get the ball to Nate and Trevor.”
Opposing defenses, of course, will try to keep it away from them. That’s fine with Scott, who will do whatever it takes to help Buckeye get a win.
““I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, I’m open’ every time,” he said. “I’m for the team. If I’m open, great. If not, I’ll do whatever I can for another guy.”
Quiet by nature, Scott isn’t a big rah-rah guy, but he’s highly respected by his coaches and teammates.
“We rely on him heavily,” Pinzone said. “He’s 100 percent respectful and he’s a good student. He always does what we ask him to do, works hard in the weight room and is never in trouble.
“He’s the prototype of the kid you want on your team. He never gets too high or too low. He’s very consistent and keeps an even keel. That’s what helps him produce so much for us. Nate just works.”
While Scott’s production on offense will likely garner him a few headlines over the course of the season, he will be equally important as a shut-down cornerback.
“He turns his hips really well and he knows the defense,” Pinzone said. “He’s one of the guys who picked up the defense the fastest when I and my staff came in.”
Of course, since he will often find himself on an island covering a wide receiver, Scott will frequently have just one major defensive responsibility: Keep his man from catching the ball.
“It’s a great thrill,” he said. “In one-on-one matchups, you’re the last line of defense. I’m very confident.”
That confidence extends to Buckeye’s ability to win the PAC Stars Division and perhaps return to the playoffs.
“We have to stay together throughout the whole year,” Scott said. “We’ll be similar to last year — maybe a trip to the playoffs and a PAC championship.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.