After the dust settled Dec. 13 on South Pasadena High’s Roosevelt
Field, and the celebration -- or at least the initial part of it --
had concluded for the Flintridge Prep faithful, a member of the
Rebel football team emerged from the locker room wearing an oversized
sweatshirt and baggy jeans.
By talking with T.C. Scotton, you wouldn’t have known that only 45
minutes before, he had just put the finishing touches on one of the
great performances in his two-year varsity career, in one of the
biggest games in the program’s 57-year history.
By hearing the soft-spoken 18-year-old talk, the tone in his voice
didn’t reflect an athlete who had just won a CIF Southern Section
championship, especially against the team’s primary rival, Pasadena
And by looking at the 5-foot-11, 170-pound tailback, you wouldn’t
have known that his body had just absorbed the punishment of carrying
the ball 31 times against one of the most physically imposing
defensive units in Division XIII, resulting in 176 hard-fought yards.
And Scotton wouldn’t have had it any other way, because just like
the other 12 games he competed in during the Rebels’ magical season,
he let his performance on the field do all his talking for him.
Scotton ran past, around and over the competition en route to an
area-best 1,619 yards in 248 attempts, but it was the manner in which
he did it -- humble, consistent and business-like -- that impressed
his coaches and teammates the most.
“You can’t match this,” said Flintridge Prep assistant Tom Fry,
pointing to Scotton’s heart as he put his arm around him in a
congratulatory gesture following the Rebels’ 17-10 win, resulting in
the program’s first 11-Man title following an Eight-Man crown in
“This is what it’s all about right here.”
And that, in addition to the aforementioned characteristics, are
what impressed the writers and editors of the News-Press and Burbank
Leader the most about Scotton.
He wasn’t the biggest player at his position, nor the fastest.
Other tailbacks might have played at bigger schools, or in tougher
divisions. But when it came time to determine the All-Area Player of
the Year, nobody else could match up with Scotton.
“He’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever seen play the game,”
said Flintridge Prep senior quarterback Greg Sherman, one of nine
Rebels selected to the All-Area roster.
“It’s fun to watch him, just as a fan of football.”
Said Rebel Coach Marty Konrad, who led Flintridge Prep to a 12-1
record: “His desire, courage and dedication are what really set him
Added Scotton, who recorded a single-season program record 27
touchdowns: “I think [my heart] was a big part of it. A lot of times
in the huddle, Greg would point at his heart and say ‘This is where
it comes from,’ and that really inspired us.”
When Scotton took the field for his long-awaited rematch with
Pasadena Poly, it only took one carry to recognize how inspired and
motivated he was to erase the frustrating memories of a 14-attempt,
27-yard performance in a 28-14 loss to the Panthers on Oct. 25.
“I was getting ready for that game for a long time,” said Scotton,
who demonstrated some rarely seen emotion following runs of 18 and 10
yards on the Rebels’ opening drive.
“The first time we played, they shut me down, and, as a result, we
couldn’t get much done on offense. Second chances don’t come much in
life, and I felt that in order for us to win the championship game, I
would have to be on.”
And was he ever, amassing 155 yards and a touchdown in 18
first-half carries, increasing his area lead to 164 points.
“During the pregame, I kind of felt that he was ready for a big
[performance],” said Sherman, who complemented Scotton by passing for
a school-record 1,585 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“With T.C., you can kind of tell if it’s going to be one of those
games. He had been doing it the whole playoffs, and the fact that
[he] did it [against] Poly, it was that much sweeter.
“No offense [had] really been able to punish Poly on a consistent
basis like we did, and it couldn’t have ended any better than that.”
Said Scotton, who had eight games of more than 100 yards -- giving
him 13 for his career -- including a career-high 216 against eventual
Division XII champion Village Christian in a 20-7 nonleague win Oct.
11: “A lot of people were thinking Poly’s run defense would shut us
down, and they were probably under- estimating us, but Coach Konrad
kept telling me to make one cut and keep going, and that’s what I
Added Konrad: “How many times did we have [a chance] to redeem
ourselves for our poor past performances? I know I’ve said it
before, but this season was all about redemption, and they all
bought into it.”
In order to build upon a 1,031-yard, nine-touchdown campaign as a
junior, Scotton bought into a rigorous weight-training program during
the offseason, which helped him become a more durable tailback, as
evidenced by his 101 carries in four playoff contests.
“It’s a credit to him because he pushes himself. I’ve never seen
a guy his size so dedicated,” said Konrad, whose squad became the
first local 11-Man team to win a CIF crown since La Canada captured
the Northwestern Conference title in 1979.
“Even when he was tired or hurting a little bit, he never asked to
come out. He’s just a dedicated kid, and his parents did a great job
of raising him that way.”
Along with raising his own level of play, Scotton also relied on
the efforts of a veteran offensive line to earn All-Prep League
first-team honors, and move into second on the program’s
single-season and career rushing list, trailing only Omar Dittu
(1,856 and 3,823).
“Just knowing the schemes played a big part in it,” said Scotton,
who scored in 11 games, including two-or-more touchdowns in nine of
“They started to learn what my tendencies are and I learned what
their tendencies were, and that was beneficial. They get a lot of
credit [for my success].”
Said Sherman, who earned second-team all-league honors: “Since the
beginning of our junior year, it’s been a gradual learning process
for both of us.
“This year, every team set up a scheme designed to stop T.C., but
he was still able to gain positive yardage almost every time. A big
reason for [his success and ours as a team] was those guys on the
offensive line. I didn’t even get touched in that championship game.”
Scotton knew he would absorb plenty of jarring hits in the final,
but that was nothing new for the Rebels’ lone returning All-CIF
selection, who served as the focal point of opposing defenses all
“I take it as a compliment,” said Scotton, who opened the season
with a career-high four touchdowns in a 40-14 win against San Juan
Capistrano St. Margaret’s, and duplicated the feat in Flintridge
Prep’s 27-14 playoff quarterfinal win against North Hollywood
“When I think about [coaches] going into the video room to break
down film, and they want to try to stop me, it just motivates me to
And even in the five games when he carried the ball more than 20
times, Scotton didn’t let fatigue slow him down, as he combined for
11 touchdowns in those contests.
“It’s really all a mental battle,” said Scotton, who only had
20-or-more carries in three games in 2002.
“Even when I was really tired, I just tried to keep a positive
[mental attitude]. I knew that all I have to do is get in the end
zone, and then I can rest.
“But being in those games helped me condition the most.”
And even after the rigors of 12 physically demanding contests,
Scotton was in mint condition for the final, and ran as efficiently
and fluidly as ever against a Panther defense that posted five
shutouts on the year.
“As far as pure running backs, he’s the best I’ve had in my three
years, most definitely,” said Konrad, whose squad averaged 34.6
points per game, with Scotton accounting for 36.4% of the team’s
“His greatest asset was being able to get positive yards. The way
he reads blocks and makes cuts, you may not see another one like him
for some time.”
Said Scotton, who lists University of Pennsylvania and Columbia
University as his top two choices to continue playing next year: “I
just want to be remembered for my work ethic, my leadership by
example and the fact that I wouldn’t give up.”
Konrad isn’t ready to give up on Scotton’s list of accolades just
yet, as he hopes his standout will be selected as the division’s
offensive player of the year at the All-CIF meeting in early January.
“Everything he gets this year, he deserves,” Konrad said.
“There’s not enough good things you can say about him.”
Especially because Scotton would rather do all of his talking on