A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Scott quarterback looking to put program back on winning track after disappointing 2020 season

By Matthew Dietz
NKyTribune sports reporter

After stringing together three consecutive winning seasons from 2017-19, the Scott football team faltered in the fall of 2020. The Eagles began the season 1-5, had their final two games cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions and opted not to participate in the Class 4A playoffs.

Led by senior quarterback Gus Howlett, this year’s Scott team is out to prove that last season was just a minor blip on the radar of their sustained success. The first game is now four weeks away.

Scott quarterback Gus Howlett led the state in passing yards per game last season, but the Eagles only played six games due to COVID-19 precautions. (Photo by Matthew Dietz)

Last season, Howlett led the state in passing yards per game with a 290.1 average in six games. He threw for 1,744 yards and 17 touchdowns, after posting 1,724 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore in 2019.

“Junior year, I put up some good numbers, but we could have played better,” he said.

In Howlett’s first season as quarterback, the Eagles had a potent rushing attack led by senior Quincy Perrin and a veteran offensive line. That team made it to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs and finished with an 8-5 record.

“Starting my sophomore year and playing with that good team with Quincy, we had a good line, I really got used to the varsity game and I found out the speed of it, and that helped out,” Howlett said.

In 2020, Scott averaged just 23 rushing yards per game and relied on Howlett’s passing arm as their primary offensive weapon. He ended up throwing 12 interceptions in six games, but he completed 61 percent of his passes and became more comfortable leading the offense.

Scott coach Eric Turner has taken notice of the way Howlett’s leadership skills have developed, especially in the passing game.

“The biggest thing is that our wide receivers, our skill guys, they know that Gus can get them the ball,” Turner said. “And if he’s not getting them the ball on a certain play, then the other guys are benefitting from it, so that whole group is just building together. They’re happy for themselves, but they’re happy for their teammates too when they succeed.”

The Eagles have three of the top four pass receivers on last year’s team returning, including Cameron Patterson and Nolan Hunter, who were also starters on the Scott basketball team. Patterson caught 34 passes for a team-high 595 yards and eight touchdowns in six games last fall.

Scott coach Eric Turner

“Both of them stand about 6-5, probably 6-6, and then also going over on defense and playing as corners over there, so we’re very formidable on the outside,” Turner said.

The Eagles also struggled on defense last season, allowing 43.5 points per game and over 1,700 rushing yards. This season, the coach plans to use the athleticism of several offensive players, including Howlett, to help out on the defensive end.

“We opened it up.” Turner said. “We’ve got a limited number of players and primarily (Howlett) was just an offensive player last year, but we’re putting our athletes on defense and we’re putting our athletes on offense.”

With experienced running backs and linemen returning, Howlett expects the Scott offense to be much less predictable this year.

“I think it’s going to be like 50-50 honestly,” he said. “I think we’re probably going to run the ball way more because we threw the ball all the time last year.”

The quarterback’s main goal is to restore the winning tradition Scott established before last season. He also has a personal milestone — finishing his career with 5,000 total passing yards.

“I hit 1,700 (passing yards) each year, and I want to break 2,000 this year,” he said. “But it should be a good year. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Howlett would like to play football at the next level and a successful senior season would help impress college scouts. To improve his skills as a quarterback, he attended summer camps at several colleges, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio and Lindsey Wilson.

“I’ll probably end up going if I get an offer that I like, but we’ll play it by ear,” he said of his future in football.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment