13 and One

JW “JDub” Scott, a senior at State College Area High School, was voted one of four captains for the 2022 Little Lions football team. Scott helped lead his team to an undefeated, 10-0 regular season, State High’s best finish since 2008. All but one of the Little Lions’ regular-season games were decided by double digits and set up what looked like the school’s best chance at a Pennsylvania state title in years.

Scott and State High’s playoff run started at Bald Eagle High School on Nov. 10, squaring off in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association 6A District 6 against cross-town rival Altoona. The Little Lions walked away with a relatively easy, 28-7 victory, and Scott danced his way off the field with his teammates.

“A tremendous leader,” according to State High head coach Matt Lintal, Scott was one of the figureheads throughout practice as the playoff run continued. Scott isn’t a quiet leader, often joking with teammates, dancing through practices and leading with his voice just as much as he does with his performance, which would eventually net him a Division I scholarship to continue playing football.

In his free time, Scott said he’s usually playing video games or hanging out with friends. On a typical weeknight, he’s over at friends’ houses or playing basketball at the State College YMCA. He occasionally stays with friends, too, because his dad, John Scott, travels frequently to recruit as Penn State football’s defensive line coach. JW is a popular face around State High, too, sitting at the front of the student section at basketball games when he’s not running the clock as the team’s manager. His personality isn’t confined to the football field, evidenced by his national anthem salute while his pants were around his ankles at State High’s basketball season opener.

The Little Lions went back to their home stadium in the second week of the state playoffs against Erie McDowell, eventually winning a three-overtime thriller, 57-50, closing it on a forced fumble. Scott and State High moved on to play Harrisburg in the state semifinals, a team they beat, 20-6, on the road during the regular season. The game was played at Mansion Park in Altoona, the same field State High was eliminated at in the 2021 semifinals.

State High scored first and held a narrow 7-0 lead at halftime of a defensive battle, highlighted by a fourth-down sack from JW. A scoreless third quarter from both teams gave way to Harrisburg’s first points of the game in the fourth quarter, as the Cougars scored 27 unanswered points to put a heartbreaking end to State High’s 2022 season, a far–too-similar fate to the one it suffered a year ago.

JW and the entire State High team consoled each other with hugs and tears from player to player, coach to coach and coach to player. JW also met with his dad, who offered words of encouragement despite the loss and subsequent end to JW’s high school career. He holds offers from five Division I schools — Long Island, New Hampshire, Fordham, Butler and Gardner-Webb.

UPDATE: Since this story published, JW signed to play at Fordham.

~ 01.27.2023

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