The backyard at Danielle and Oliver Scott’s house was a busy place. There were four young sons, two of them a few years younger than their older brothers who never wanting to be left out of the fray. Add in a whole host of neighborhood friends, and it made for never-ending action.
“We would get together and play from sun up to sun down, until you couldn’t see the guy in front of you,” said Isaiah Scott, the oldest of Danielle and Oliver’s sons. “That’s how my neighborhood was, how my group of friends were. We were very close-knit. We grew up together. We played basketball together, we played baseball together and football.”
It was those backyard football games that stuck with the Scotts. When their friends weren’t around, Oliver was. He was there to not just throw the ball around with his kids, but to teach them the game. Oliver taught his sons not just how to run routes, how to block an opponent or cover someone, but why you did those things the way he was teaching.
Isaiah was his first student, but the lessons were passed on to Joshua, then Elijah and then Josiah. They became known as Team Scott at Fairfield (Ohio) High School, 20 miles north of Cincinnati. The lessons served the Scotts well.
The older three have gone on to play college ball at Division III national power Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. Isaiah and Joshua were defensive backs who helped the Purple Raiders win the 2012 national championship, one of 12 titles for the program. Elijah, a linebacker, just completed his sophomore season there, a season that ended one game shy of the national title game.
Youngest brother Josiah is a cornerback. He moved into his dorm at Michigan State this past week, ready to enroll in classes for the spring semester and begin working out with the Spartans as a member of the 2017 class of recruits.
Not too bad for the little brother who endured a few physical beatings from the older kids but turned all those lessons into a Division I scholarship for the school he always dreamed of playing for.
“My brothers, they’ve been everything,” Josiah Scott said. “They helped me when I was young, just being able to do this, how to do that and teaching the way to go. I felt like they were a huge part of this, just lighting that fire in me early.”
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No burn out
Oliver Scott wouldn’t allow his sons to play football until they reached seventh grade, at the earliest. All of them played other sports. Josiah excelled at soccer.
“They were very good baseball players,” Oliver Scott said. “It didn’t really hit them until they went to school and they started talking about football. But I was like ‘Nah, you’re not going to play it until the seventh or the eighth grade.’ I’ve seen kids get burned out. If they really wanted to do it, they would still have the passion for it and the burning for it when they start playing.”
Isaiah is now 25 and coaching high school football and basketball in South Dakota after playing a couple of years of arena football in the area. Joshua, 24, works at Fairfield Middle School, helping emotionally challenged students as well as coaching football and basketball.
“The Team Scott thing, that’s a huge thing with me,” Joshua Scott said. “My friends are like ‘you guys have a legacy at Fairfield.’ It’s kind of true, but you couldn’t have told me when I started playing football in the eighth grade that it would become like this.
“Nobody could have told me that. I wouldn’t have believed them.”
Elijah and Josiah went to all their older brothers’ games, not that they had much choice being five-to-seven years younger. All those lessons they learned in the backyard, they saw Isaiah and Joshua put to use on the field for Fairfield.
A few years later, it was Elijah and Josiah’s turn. The two were named first-team all-conference when Elijah was a senior and Josiah a sophomore. Josiah repeated that honor his junior and senior seasons and earned first-team all-district and special mention all-state honors from the Associated Press as a senior.
“I wouldn’t say we teach each other. It’s like one motivates the other to be better by example and actions,” Elijah Scott said. “I would say that one thing he took away from me when I graduated was being a leader for the team. Not having to be a vocal leader but being a leader by example and bringing life to the team.
“One thing I got from him was the work ethic part, being determined. It’s not easy to graduate early and head up to college a full semester early. He really worked his butt off for that, and I congratulate him on that and I’m really proud of him for that.”
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Back to the backyard
Jason Krause is the head coach at Fairfield. He coached Elijah and Josiah. Krause coached against Isaiah and Joshua when he was at Middletown, a rival of Fairfield’s in the Greater Miami Conference.
He has a good feeling of what Team Scott means.
“I think the thing I notice about them all — and I’ve watched the other two that I didn’t coach come back here and now Josh is coaching for us — the things that stand out to me are: A) they are tireless workers, and they don’t ever say a word,” Krause said. “They never complain about anything. They understand it’s a team game, team is first, and all four of them are that way. Their football IQ is very high.”
That’s one of the reasons why Krause had Josiah Scott practice and dress with the varsity as a freshman, even though he played sparingly.
“I would watch Josiah with some drill tapes that he would post back when he was a freshman of what he was doing with his brothers,” Krause said. “They were taking him through some drills in the backyard. I think that’s the big thing that I’ve seen, how tight they are as a family and how important football is to that family and they understand their place in that team sport.”
Somehow it all goes back to the backyard.
“Me and Josh, we were older. Jo and Elijah, they were younger and they were playing with my group of friends,” Isaiah Scott said. “We used to tell them that if you want to play, you’ve got to be able to take some hits and you’ve got to be able to give some hits. Even when it was just me and my brothers. We’d go out there and someone would get hit too hard, i.e. Jo, and Jo would start messing around and start crying because he got hit too hard or he couldn’t make a tackle. Mom would come out there and ‘Hey, would you leave that boy alone’ or ‘quit hitting him that hard.’
“‘Man, now he messed up the game and we’ve got to go inside,’ but I tell people all the time the same kid that used to cry in our backyard is the same kid that will now take your head off.
“I’m very, very proud of him.”