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Prep football: Trio of backs has Scott flying high

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Scott High School football Coach Shane Griffith knew he would need a running back to step up in 2012.

The Skyhawks lost their leading rusher, junior Draven Riffe, to transfer shortly before the start of preseason workouts. Riffe's move to nearby Class A Van left a void some suspected would cost Scott a run at a playoff spot.

Griffith needed a back, for sure. Little did he know that his stable had three of them waiting for the ball.

The Skyhawks (7-1) are led by a three-headed monster at running back in Robert Bias, Cameron Loftus, and Tristan Crone.  Scott, ranked sixth in the latest Secondary School Activities Commission Class AA playoff ratings and seventh in this week's Daily Mail Poll, continued its solid season last week, defeating Herbert Hoover 40-7 in Falling Rock.

Rest assured, that trio of running backs had a lot to do with it.

Bias, a senior, rushed for 121 yards on 11 carries, Crone carried the ball nine times for 79 yards, and Loftus added 65 yards on just eight carries. Each had a touchdown run.

The Skyhawks even got huge contributions from a fourth running back, Hunter Bradley. The sophomore carried seven times for 56 yards and added 34 yards receiving out of the backfield. Scott rushed for 360 yards on 48 carries.  

Despite so many running backs and only one ball to go around, the Skyhawks remain an unselfish bunch.

"Most teams have one running back and he's getting the ball 20 times a game but by the 15th or 16th carry, he's not going as strong," Crone said. "We are all healthy and fresh. It's hard for the defense getting our best every time."

"Last year it was one person getting the ball," Loftus said. "This year we are spreading it out. Everybody is getting carries and it's working out really great. We all are liking it really well."

Griffith unveiled an entirely new offense against Hoover after his Skyhawks suffered its only loss of the season the week before as Scott was dismantled on their own field on homecoming to No. 1 Wayne 47-6.

Three days after the loss to the Pioneers, Griffith started installing a new motion and misdirection offense on the Monday before facing Hoover. It got great results against the Huskies.

"After last weeks game, we realized we have to do a few different things with the football," Griffith said. "It forced us to move some people around and instead of getting into our iso package, we spread people out and used some misdirection.

"Some people call it the wing-T, but I call it the iced-T. I refuse to run the wing-T. We've got to open things up a bit. We saw the gap between us and Wayne, and we are trying to fill that gap in as best we can."

Griffith couldn't be happier with the output he is receiving from the running back by committee.

"To me, it's one of the best backfields you can see, especially in double-A," Griffith said. "We felt comfortable throughout the offseason that these guys were going to be awesome players. Last year we saw the potential they had."

Bias leads Scott with 915 rushing yards but is last among the three in touchdowns (seven). Loftus, a junior, is second on the team with 602 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. Crone, a sophomore, despite being last of the trio with 421 yards rushing, has scored the most touchdowns, with 10.

Griffith believes he has the complete package at the running back position with each brining something different to the table.

"Robert has a lot of speed and gets to the edge quick," Griffith said. "Cameron has some speed and sees the field really well. Tristan is just a powerful, young man. And when Hunter gets thrown into the mix, he does things for us, too. There is a lot to our backfield."

Bias said each back brings something different to the offense.

"We've got good speed, and we've got power," Bias said. "We have a lot of different people who run the ball really well and it has helped us all out."

Scott is off this week, but has two of its toughest games remaining after the bye. Class AA No. 7 (No. 4 Daily Mail Poll) Robert C. Byrd (7-1) visits Madison on Oct. 26, and Class AAA No. 18 Logan (5-2) visits in a regular-season finale on Nov. 2.


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