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Career first

Mon., Oct. 25, 2010, 11:10 p.m.

Ex Mead star McGlocklin left football after high school

Back when he finished a stellar high school football career as the second all-time rusher in the Greater Spokane League and first at Mead, Scott McGlocklin was the strongest athlete at his school.

He could squat 510 pounds, bench press 375 and clean 300.

“I know I couldn’t do that now,” McGlocklin, a 1997 graduate, said. “I weigh about 230 pounds, and had a lot more muscle back then.”

McGlocklin, who was 6-foot and 217 pounds in his playing days, was described as a combination of bowling ball, battering ram and steamroller as a two-way starter at fullback and middle linebacker. Back in the eighth grade, coaches wanted to make him a lineman. But he resisted.

“I was probably more like a steamroller; an asphalt paver,” he said.

Appropriate, really, considering the line of work he would pursue.

He’s living proof how high school athletics can lay a foundation for life.

McGlocklin had opportunities to walk on at bigger schools or options at smaller schools, but he left football behind to seek a degree in civil engineering at Montana State University.

The past five years, he’s been a project manager for Bouten Construction, one of what he considers four big construction companies in Spokane.

“Bouten, Lydig, Garco and Graham. We’re the GSL of construction companies,” McGlocklin, 31, said. “The others are in the smaller leagues, like the Great Northern.”

His brother, Colin, is a project manager at Garco.

The skills Scott McGlocklin acquired roaming the turf at Albi Stadium are the same skills he applies in construction.

McGlocklin managed the construction of the Dwight Merkel softball fields near Joe Albi Stadium. His big project now is the Biochem building at Whitworth  University.

“There’s always something different every day,” he said. “I spend a lot of time on-site involved in the day-to-day. I really enjoy it. There’s a lot of problem solving. To me, it’s very similar to athletics and teamwork. The construction crew is your team.”

McGlocklin now ranks seventh all-time among GSL rushers and is second on the Mead list.

“There’s been a long line of great running backs at Mead,” McGlocklin said.

In 1996, his senior season, Mead went undefeated in the GSL and was poised for a deep run in the state playoffs in the school’s eighth straight year in the postseason.

In the quarterfinals, the Panthers opened a 21-0 lead at halftime over Richland. But the Bombers rallied for a 34-27 overtime decision.

Richland advanced to the state title game.

The previous week, McGlocklin rushed for 253 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 36-0 win over Walla Walla. He piled up more than 200 yards five times.

In a playoff-clinching 24-21 win over Gonzaga Prep, McGlocklin rushed a then-record 49 times for 212 yards.

“We had a great team my senior year,” McGlocklin said. “Going undefeated was exciting. I think we could have challenged for the state title had we beat Richland.”

He was a SWABs finalist for Junior Male Athlete of the Year. He got to meet his boyhood idol, Walter Payton, who was the guest speaker at that year’s banquet.

“I got a picture taken with him, and his autograph,” McGlocklin said.

One particular play that stands out in McGlocklin’s mind was a 99-yard TD run in a league-clinching win over Lewis and Clark at Albi. A thick fog hovered over the field. The writer of the game story that night dubbed McGlocklin the “Galloping Ghost” because he could faintly be seen running down the field.

“It was an inside dive up the middle and I sprung it loose,” said McGlocklin, who took the handoff in the end zone. “I wish I had it on video but it was so foggy and the field was sopped in that you can’t see it on video.”

McGlocklin attends at least two games a year, and one of them is the cross-district rivalry game between Mead and Mt. Spokane. His brother-in-law, Mike Henry, coaches at Mt. Spokane.

McGlocklin has followed with interest the record-breaking season by Gonzaga Prep senior running back Bishop Sankey. He watched Sankey run all over Central Valley on a televised broadcast.

“He’s very good,” McGlocklin said of Sankey. “He’s just an all-around great athlete.”

McGlocklin married his high school sweetheart, the former Gina Hopoi, who was a standout soccer goalie for the Panthers. She joined McGlocklin at MSU and earned a degree in health and human development. She’s a special education teacher at Finch Elementary.

They’ve been married eight years and have a 21/2-year old son, Rocci. They recently became foster parents of two sisters, one 18 months and the other a newborn.

“We have a lot of the same interests,” McGlocklin said of he and Gina. “We’ve been sweethearts since the end of our freshman year at Mead.”

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