Football lifts Patterson's Scott to new level; Game, night school refocus player on grades, career


His parents, Rashidi Scott said, have grown to accept the gold cap that frames one of his right front teeth, "a reminder of the bad atmosphere I was in, things I don't want to do, and places I won't go."

Scott's name in Swahili means "warrior," and, said Patterson football coach Roger Wrenn, the running back/linebacker can run like one.

He leads Patterson as a running back with 11 touchdowns, and, as a linebacker with three sacks and two fumble recoveries. Scott and the seventh-ranked Clippers (6-0 overall, 3-0 league) take on Dunbar (5-1, 3-0) at 7 tonight at Patterson Park's Utz Twardowicz Field.

"Rashidi runs hard, communicates well with everyone on the team, lets you know what's going on in a game," said second-team All-Metro lineman Matt Belcastro. "But what I respect about him the most is how he handles different responsibilities."

Statistics and symbols aren't half the story of Scott, an 18-year-old senior whose past academic negligence nearly took football out of the equation.

"I was at Lake Clifton when I got suspended for bad grades and being in the wrong places at the wrong times," said Scott, who spent his sophomore year taking night classes at Patterson. "My parents were there, guiding my life; I just took a few U-turns. The only way to get back into city public schools was through Patterson's Twilight school. But sitting out a year was tough. It hurt, going to games, knowing I could be out there. I had to step it up another notch, or it was all going downhill."

Scott raised his grades, and, by September 1998, joined the team as a reserve linebacker and running back. His present 2.7 grade-point average includes a B-average in subjects such as physics and English. The aspiring computer technician has attracted interest from colleges such as Michigan and Pittsburgh.

"You knew Rashidi was meant to be a leader," Rhonda Scott said of the youngest of three sons. "He was my most aggressive child and a very strong baby."

That baby is now a solidly built, 5-foot-11, 195-pounder. He bench presses 225 pounds several times, squats 275 pounds and runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash.

And Ms. Scott's baby also has a 2-year-old baby of his own.

"Her name is Shaneri, which means glory of life," said Scott. "Right now, she stays with her mother, but we're on good terms. She knows I have the right goals: To finish high school, go to college and be a good person in life."

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