PDT Sports Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — The mark of a great offense can be revealed in the talent of the offensive line just as much as the talent of the skilled position players.
For the past three years, the West football team had comfort in knowing that Jesse Scott would be in the trenches. His dedication and hard work throughout his high school career garnered attention from many college coaches for his services. In the end, Scott — a Special Mention Division V All-Southeast District in 2012 — decided the sales pitch from NCAA Division II Tiffin University was too good to pass up as he will be playing for the Dragon football program in the fall.
“What set Tiffin apart from the other two (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic conference foes Ashland and Findlay) was the atmosphere,” Scott said. “It’s a great school. When I was in my college decision (process), I was thinking for the next 50 years, not four.”
When he enrolls on campus, Scott will be studying education with the focus on either English or history and the opportunity to coach after his playing days are over. But in order to have school paid off, he will have to make a contribution on the gridiron as an offensive lineman, primarily at either center or guard.
Scott wants to be a part of the program’s rebirth under third-year head coach Gary Goff. Last year, the Dragons started all true freshmen on their offensive line and finished with a 3-8 record.
“There’s no experience, I’m going up there with just about the same amount of experience as their players do now,” Scott said. “It’s going to be a fight to see who wants it more.”
His high school coach, Merril Triplett, will miss Scott with what he did off the field just as much as he did on it.
“Probably Jesse’s leadership role that he takes with the younger players,” Triplett said. “He’s been a great leader, he’s led by example in the weight room and out on the field, playing every play hard which is what we like all kids to do. He’s one of the kids that actually gets out there and gives 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.”
The transformation from Scott’s freshman year to his senior year is another facet that Triplett can’t ignore. In his time with the program, Triplett has watched Scott power clean 340 pounds and shave his 40-yard dash time from 6.9 seconds his freshman year to 5.1 his senior year.
“He is one of those kids where he is the great success story where hard work paid off,” Triplett said. “He always kept his grades up, everybody tried to stress how important that was…he’s had a great support staff with his family and the school administration has taken a big part in watching Jesse grow in all aspects.”
This will be the first year for offensive line coach Dave Bucar, who put the final touches on getting Scott to sign. After paying in a Wing-T system his entire high school career, Scott will have to get used to the zone blocking scheme associated with the Air Raid attack.
With Scott’s signing, it’s the second player Tiffin has grabbed from the southern Ohio region. The Dragons also signed defensive lineman Aaron Ward from Piketon.
Although he doesn’t know him as well, Scott feels relieved to not be the only one from the area to be on the same team.
“I’m sure we’ll forge a good bond together,” Scott said. “Two local country kids definitely stick together and go up there to fight for our spots.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com.