Mason Cole, Artavis Scott
EAGLES COULD SOAR BEHIND SCOTT AND COLE
THE FIRST TIME ARTAVIS SCOTT TOUCHED THE FOOTBALL IN a high school game, the then-freshman at East Lake High School (Tarpon Springs) returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Land O’Lakes in a preseason fall classic.
The buzz surrounding Scott has been building ever since.
“Probably the biggest highlight of my career,” he said.
Scott entered East Lake as a much-heralded wide receiver based on
his youth football exploits in Pinellas County and delivered on that early
promise. He started immediately, hauled in 17 passes for 340 yards and
caught five touchdowns as a freshman. He also continued to shine on
special teams with high averages for kickoff ( 21 yards) and punt returns
( 19 yards) and a 68-yard score against Seminole.
Offensive lineman Mason Cole had a similar meteoric rise at East Lake.
The summer before his freshman season, Cole was a 6-4, 220-pound
tackle on the junior varsity but was quickly shipped up to varsity once two-a-days began. Eagles head coach Bob Hudson thought enough of Cole to
start him that year as a freshman, the first time the veteran coach had
ever done so with an offensive lineman.
Cole continued to settle into his role as a tackle while he grew into his
body. As a sophomore he gained 20 pounds, weighing in at 240. He jumped
to 270 by his junior year. Today, Cole is an inch taller ( 6-5) and a solid 280
pounds. In February, he verbally committed to the University of Michigan.
Together, the duo has helped East Lake reach new heights. As sophomores, the Eagles made it to the region finals for the first time in school
history. They repeated the feat a year later.
Now seniors, Scott and Cole have an even bigger goal in mind.
“We want to win a state championship,” Cole said.
The Eagles have the pieces to make it deep in the playoffs, starting
with their pair of four-year starters on offense. Cole is a hulking, powerful
figure, even for a lineman. He’s also deceptively athletic with quick feet,
helped by a basketball career in middle school.
Scott has scored 29 touchdowns during his first three years at East Lake
and was five yards shy in 2012 of putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. And his contributions to the return game have been invaluable.
“I try to do whatever it takes just so I can be out there helping and
contributing to the team,” Scott said.
Two years ago, East Lake came closest to capturing that elusive state
title after the Eagles took Plant to the wire in the playoffs. East Lake led
14-6 at halftime and 21-14 late before Plant rallied, tying the game with
28 seconds left and prevailing in overtime 28-21. The Panthers would go
on to win the Class 8A state championship after two more victories.
East Lake was the sternest test Plant would face during its playoff run.
“We were huge underdogs,” Cole said. “It was
the first time we had done anything like that in
school history. That was a great experience,
but I still think about that loss.”
HOMESTEAD RECEIVER RUNNING IN HIS OWN LANE
WHEN PATRICK BURROWS WAS HIRED TO COACH HOME- stead High last year, the first person he wanted to speak with was Ermon Lane. Why? “Because every school in the county saw his potential
and what he could do as a sophomore,” Burrows said. “I basically had to
recruit him and all my players from leaving.”
Burrows won that recruiting battle.
Who wins the next battle for Lane, a 6-3, 190-pound standout, considered among the best receivers in the country, is anyone’s guess. But
whoever gets him – Alabama, USC, UM, FSU, UF or Clemson – will be
getting a special player, his coach says.
Lane, a two-time all-county selection, has wreaked havoc throughout
his high school years, hauling in a combined 57 passes for 1,604 yards
and 16 TDs entering his senior season. And he’s accomplished all that in a
run-based Wing-T offense while often beating double and triple coverage.
“I have never been around a receiver that is as talented and makes
things look so easy,” said University School quarterback Sean White, Lane’s
teammate on the South Florida Express 7-on- 7 team. “He is certainly one of
those receivers who makes a quarterback look so much better.”
And, according to coach Burrows, Lane hardly ever comes off the field
for the Broncos. In his past two seasons, Lane has five interceptions as a
starting cornerback. He also is on the kickoff and punt coverage teams.
“He’s the total package,” Burrows said. “His knack for attacking the
football at its highest point is really his gift. But he’s also very focused.
People often see dollar signs with a kid like that, but Ermon is not the type
of kid to hang around with those who are doing the wrong things or pushing him one way or the other. He just likes to work hard and get better. He
can certainly have a long career playing football.” – Manny Navarro
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL FLORIDA 2013