Former Lewiston and Post Falls football coach Nick Menegas is writing a weekly column - Coach’s Corner - for the Lewiston Tribune.
I’m going to post those columns from time to time. Click the tab below to read about one of his former players who is a standout lineman in the NFL.
Do you know what idahos best kept secret is? It’s from right here, our beautiful Lewiston Valley. It’s a 300 pounder, but it isn’t a world record sturgeon caught on the Snake River. Guess again. It is shaggy haired, fiercely protective, devours intruders, consumes massive amounts of food, fears nothing. Still confused?
Here are a few hints: you can’t hunt it down, can’t trap it, can’t bait it, and its hibernation period is in early spring. You may spot it in the wilderness, but if you want a sure-fire bet, turn on your television on any given Sunday from September through February. Give up? Actually, this best kept secret is a human. His name is Jake Scott, starting right guard, number 73 for the Tennessee Titans. I am privliged to have been his high school football coach, and witnessed the evolution of boy to man, a humble, modest, giving young man with no ego, no attention grabbing actions, ( are you reading this Lebron?) and a love of family and friends.
My first encounter with this future all-pro was at our double day football camps his sophomore year. He looked like Bambi in a football helmet. 6 ‘ 5”, long, skinny legs, 170 pounds. I turned to my junior varsity coach Jay Henry, and said ,”this Scott kid looks like he could tread water in a test tube.” Jake was an average player for 2 seasons of Bengal football, but he had all the intangibles the great ones possess: loyalty, obedience, intensity, desire, an aim to please, a relentless work ethic. And unlike many of todays modern athletes, he suffered no dillusions of gaining a college football scholarship or becoming an NFL millionare. Jake just wanted to be the best player he could be, and let the chips fall where they may.
His senior year, Bambi had become the incredible hulk, adding 50 pounds to that lanky frame . he trained hard, ate right, lived clean and became a dominant high school offensive lineman. Internally, I knew this kid was something special, and when the season finished, Jake and I talked about his future. His parents never pressured him (or me) to get scholarship offers. Jake was still small in the eyes of college football coaches, he would be a hard sale. We shopped everywhere for an opportunity for him to pursue a college football career, but there were no takers at the higher level divisions. He trained all winter, continuing to get bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic. He was a “cant miss prospect” in my eyes, and the smaller schools agreed. When signing day occurred,jake had opportunities to play football at several small colleges in the pacific northwest and become an instant starter. Or, he could challenge himself at a higher level as a walk on athlete. Jake chose the latter option and (after promising the University of Idaho if he didn’t develop in to their best football player, they could have my house!) off to Moscow he went. Jake earned instant respect from his peers and coaches, and became legendary at Idaho with his work ethic and skills. By his senior year, he was an NFL prospect, and the following spring “bambi” had become a colt, an Indianapolis Colt, that is.
He was a starter with the Colts, played on a Super Bowl championship team, and currently is a premier lineman with the Tennessee Titans, yet few of you even know his name. you wont find him seeking the limelight, offering interviews, submitting his own press releases, or drawing any attention to himself. When he comes home, you can find him spending time with his family, eating lunch with his old coach, traning with kids in a weight room as their equal, wearing a flannel shirt, levi jeans, driving an old pick up truck, looking forward to his moms next home cooked meal. You might even find him at one of our elementary schools, reading to kids, inspiring them to be the best they can be.
So, the secret is out…Idaho’s best kept secret is Jake Scott. Shhhhh, just don’t tell him. He wants it that way.