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Scott may be on his way to starting and starring for Tigers on both sides of ball

OZARK'S TAYGEN SCOTT heads upfield after making a catch in 7-on-7 action.
OZARK'S TAYGEN SCOTT heads upfield after making a catch in 7-on-7 action.

Taygen Scott didn’t take the route he envisioned himself following while making an impact on the varsity scene for the first time.

An offensive-minded player throughout his formative years, Scott surprised himself as a junior last year by earning reps as part of Ozark’s defensive backfield.

He proved his worth by collecting 55 tackles that included 31 solo stops, three TFLs and one quarterback sack.

“Defense was new to me last year. It took me a while to get used to it. After a while, I fell in love with it,” Scott said.

Looking ahead to his senior season this year, Scott is hoping to become the offensive playmaker he always dreamed he could be.

At the same time, he’s made it clear during summer workouts he’d still like to hold onto his role on the other side of the ball and be a two-way player for coach Jeremy Cordell.

“(Coaches) were wanting me to just be on offense,” Scott said. “I went to coach and said, 'This is something I've been thinking about, I would like to keep doing defense, as well.' He loved that I felt that way.”

Cordell arrived at Ozark last year fully intent on drastically reducing the number of two-way players for the Tigers and ideally would prefer 22 different starters. But a slew of injuries throughout last season forced Cordell to call upon players on offense and defense.

Scott was one of those asked to do double duty. In the final few weeks, he responded to being at wide receiver by hauling in six passes for 52 yards.

Scott would like to pick up where he left off.

“Once our injuries started to hit us last year, coach gave me the opportunity (to play both ways) and I ran with it,” Scott said. “He’s seen I can do it and it's opened his mind up that I can do both.”

Of course, running pass routes and running down opposing ball carriers repeatedly on a hot Friday night can wear down the great majority of players. But knowing the possible task at hand, Scott vows to prepare himself to accept and meet such a challenge.

“I’ll have to get myself in top physical shape,” he said. “I'll have to get there so my guys can count on me and I can deliver.”

Scott has risen as a big-play threat offensively during Ozark’s summer workouts and 7-on-7 sessions. In fact, he had the Tigers’ first touchdown catch during 7-on-7 play.

Before this summer, Scott took part in 7-on-7 tournaments with other SWMO preps as part of the Mo-Kan Seven circuit. He felt it was ideal preparation leading up to summer workouts.

"It showed me things I needed to work on in the off-season and helped me hone my skills, so I could come out there and be more confident in my abilities,” Scott said.

Also, the experience made him realize he has the potential to be a college prospect.

“I didn't know if I wanted to play college ball,” Scott said. “I knew I was going to do whatever it took to get there. Now, I’ve seen it's a possibility. I want to push myself to get there.”

Scott will team with fellow senior Sam Clark to give Ozark capable bookends in what appears could be a high quality passing game.

"Sam has always been my guy. We've worked out together through the years,” Scott said. “I like the concepts Cordell has come up with. He's giving us a lot more freedom. Once we build our chemistry as a unit, it's going to be guns blazing.”