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Great Scotts! Upper Merion brothers have jerseys retired

By DENNIS C. WAY

21st Century Media

 

UPPER MERION->>When Lewis and Clarence Scott think back on Upper Merion High School football in the early 1960s,a number of things stand out.

But perhaps, above all, what they remember is the style of play.

“Football reflects the personality of the coaches, and our coach, Ogie Martella, went to Penn State,” said Lewis, after the Scott brothers had their jersey numbers retired Thursday night. “So it was all running backs and linebackers.

“That was all we knew.”

The Scotts were in town, not only for the Upper Merion ceremony, which was held prior to the Vikings volleyball game versus Spring-Ford, but also because Lewis is being inducted into the Montgomery County chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Friday night at the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

The event is sold out.

Clarence was inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall in 2014.

The brothers had their jerseys retired along with record-setting quarterback Bob Baker, who is also being honored at the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame on Friday.

“The game of football has changed so much,” Clarence said. “In the game today, you might see 40 passes by each team in one game.

“We didn’t see that many in two seasons.”

It’s a commentary on those long ago times that Clarence, a gifted athlete, would wind up at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., playing alongside future National Football League Hall of Famers Willie Lanier and Leroy Kelly, among others.

“Division One programs weren’t offering scholarships to many black athletes at that time,” Scott said, “so we went and played at Morgan State, and quite a few of the players I played with ended up with NFL teams.”

Clarence was one of them, seeing action for the Boston, nee New England Patriots, back in the old days of the American Football League.

The road for Lewis was a bit different.

Lewis went to Mesa Junior College in Arizona, where he played quarterback for two seasons before transferring to Oregon State University, where he played under legendary coach Tommy Prothro, and saw action in the 1964 Rose Bowl.

“If you’ve never played in a large bowl like that, it’s hard to explain the feeling,” he said. “You’re asked to participate in so many things before the actual game, I think the coach’s primary goal winds up trying to keep his players focused.

“And standing inside a huge stadium like that, you just can’t take your eyes off the stands, and looking at all the people who are there.”

Of course, so much so much about college football is about big, including the money.

“The budget for the Oregon State football team back then was bigger than the budget for the town of Corvallis, Ore. (where Oregon State is located).”

Like his brother, Lewis got his crack at professional football, signing to play for the Denver Broncos, where his path to a starting job was blocked by future NFL Hall of Famer Willie Brown.

The brothers’ respective pro careers were relatively short, but infinitely enjoyable.

And now, for Lewis, it’s time to reap some of the rewards.

Living in Kansas, Lewis made the trek to the Philadelphia area with 40-plus well wishers and family members in tow.

“When you’re playing, you don’t think about your resume,” Lewis said. “But when you get older, you can’t help but think about all the people who helped get you to where you are today.

“I think that’s the most important thing about something like this.”

As for brother Clarence, he said he has quite a few surprises ready for his brother’s celebratory time, post-ceremony.

“We have a great deal of respect for each other,” Lewis said. “Now it’s time to collect the Scott Family Oscar.”

 

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