Black Mountain – Dynamic dual-threat senior quarterback Caleb Scott spurs Owen Warhorses to greener pasture.
Scott is sturdy at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He was that big a season ago, too. He is fearlessly bold and powerful when bursting ahead with the ball — reminiscent of Heath Shuler with Swain County 30 years ago, and Mountain Heritage’s Trey Robinson of recent vintage. Owen head coach, Nathan Padgett, calls Scott a “big body, a powerful downhill runner. He’s a big Tim Tebow-type, who can run and throw.”
Scott ran for 627 yards (4.4 ypc.) and seven touchdowns in 2019, the latest season before the one that starts tomorrow/Feb. 26. Much of his output was in a ferocious second-half comeback win in the opener, at East Henderson. Scott ran for 205 yards and two scores on that foggy evening. “I wasn’t comfortable throwing yet. So I had to run that night. They couldn’t stop me running the ball.” He recalled his long TD run. “I broke away, cutting across. They kept gaining on me. I was huffin’ at the end. But I was going to score. A guy hit me at the two, but I shook it off — and walked in.”
He later put the team on his back in defeating then-undefeated Polk for the second time in a row, to beat out the Wolverines for third place in the WHC. “We had to win that ‘action’ game,” Scott said. “I had to be tough, run the ball, and score.”
But more often by now, rather than look to run Scott sees his running as a fall-back option. “It’s good I can get away (from pass rushers) if a play busts.” Scott is intent to “be aware of each play’s situation,” and react with sharp decisions.
He thrives on contact. He started as a varsity linebacker as a freshman and now will play some at the defensive end. He said that keeps him edgier throughout a game.
He is committed to playing for the Western Carolina Catamounts. WCU coaches see him primarily as a tight end, want his weight up to 235, and note blocking well is a key. “I have big hands and can (not only pass but also) catch the ball, too. Tight end, quarterback, outside linebacker — wherever they want me. I want to play the game I love, stay on track (academically) and stay in school.” His GPA is 3.25/3.41 weighted. He is eyeing physical therapy as a major.
His mother, Lisa Wilson, is “ always been there for me. She knows what it’s like to succeed. She started with nothing, and worked her butt off” as a waitress. Scott said Padgett and OC Anthony Lee also help him mature.
More Pass-First, Pocket-Savvy
Strong Scott is also quick enough to scamper to the outside to run or pass. He is getting more pass-first, and retaining “poise and focus” in the pocket.
Scott can better utilize his cannon of an arm. Coach Padgett said Scott is learning to release passes quicker. Scott passed for over 1,300 yards, with an impressive ratio of 16 TDs to four interceptions. He looks to get his completion mark above 50 percent. “The more comfortable he gets in the pocket, the more accurate he’ll be,” Padgett reasons. “He’s developing poise and focus, timing and footwork.”
Passing mechanics are centered in the passer’s posture and motion “from the feet up” and with proper “footwork in the pocket,” Scott said. “All you got to do is be good in a three-by-three box. That’s your base. You have to be able to step away, step through, and know where to put the ball to lead your receivers.”
He admires seven-time Super Bowl champion QB Tom Brady making the passing motion “look so easy” with smoothness and calm focus. “Above all, he has brains” and resilience. On one hand, Scott is learning to take miscues more in stride. “Don’t let it ‘crash you down.’ Move to the next play,” he says.
Yet he remains a fiery leader. He gets into pre-game mode listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ up-tempo rap-rock. He admires intense “monster” Bucs linebacker, Devon White. Emotion triggered the comeback win at East, Scott recalled. “We got on each other, at halftime. We said ‘we know we’re better. We have to show it.’ We did.”
Owen gets revved up as the “nothing to lose” underdog against powerhouse Heritage. Scott remains furious at how Lady Luck scorned Owen in ‘19, at MHHS. “We had them beat. Their kid squib-kicked it deep to our right corner.” Warhorses thought the kick would reach the end zone, for a touchback. “The ball kept rolling, flying on their soaked grassy field. We were too calm about it.” The ball suddenly halted. “Their kid recovered it onto our half-yard line,” and they scored to win. “I doubt you’d ever see that again.”
Also bizarre is the ongoing pandemic and its restrictions. “It’s been wild. We’re super glad to get to play. We’re excited. We have potential with our skill.” He says of Heritage, “they’re always big and tough. But we’re faster. They can’t guard us. I just need three seconds” to deliver the ball. “We have a chance” when hosting MHHS on March 26.
The other time Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl, Owen alumnus Brad Johnson was its QB. That was two months after Scott was born in November of 2002. Caleb Scott hopes that this spring, current Warhorses make a special history of their own.