THANKS TO AN impressive combination of talent, demeanor and passion, Deandre Scott is considered the face of Imhotep Charter's football program by coach Albie Crosby. As for what expressions can often be found on the mugs of those guys forced to do battle with Scott . . . Think disappointment and/or pain.
At about 3:30 Thursday, in his second-floor office, Crosby touched the screen and Scott's highlight video began lighting up an iPad. No matter how many times he watches it, on certain plays featuring violent hits, Crosby can't help but blurt out, "Ohhhhh!" Ah, just what the hit doctor would order.
"I love to hear those 'ohhhhs' from the crowd," Scott, who was not in the room while the video was playing, said later. "Oh, man, I love to hear those.
"If I'm running downfield, and I can tell the guy can't see me, all I'm thinking is, 'Kill shot. Kill shot.' In my head, I'm always thinking that I'm really hurting guys. If they do get back up, well, gotta try it again.
"I'm always trying to make sure I drive the guy backward. At least, I'm standing him up so my teammates can finish him off."
By now you might be thinking that Scott goes, say, 6-2, 230 pounds, and lines up at middle linebacker. Nope, the junior is only 5-8, 167, and his position is strong safety.
You'll next be able to catch his act, likened by Crosby to former Eagle Brian Dawkins, Saturday at 1 p.m., at Germantown's Ben Johnston Memorial Stadium, when the Panthers (14-0) host Wyomissing (same record) in a PIAA Class AA state semifinal.
(Two other semis involving D-12 teams will take place at 7 o'clock. In AAAA, it'll be La Salle vs. Coatesville at Downingtown West while the AAA contest will feature Archbishop Wood vs. Allentown Central Catholic at Bethlehem Liberty.)
Imhotep will be looking to become the first 15-win team in city history. And if you feel like closing your eyes, the sound of Scott's hits will let you know where he is.
Scott said his fury can be traced back to his childhood. His parents, Sabrina Cook and Harris Scott, have never had it easy, mostly because the former tends to think way more of others than she does of herself and the latter keeps suffering injuries in assorted accidents.
"The anger I have inside of me, from seeing my parents struggle, I take it out on the field and use it in a positive way," Scott said. "I'm going to get a college scholarship so things will be easier for my family. I'm going to keep doing what I do. I want to make it out."
That scholarship wish is not some pipedream.
"A coach from Arizona State was here a while back," Crosby said. "He watched that same highlight tape and told me, 'This is a no-brainer. I'm offering him a scholarship right now.' "
Other schools have done the same.
Scott wants to become a lawyer and, fittingly, he intends to play defense in courtrooms as well.
"I like helping people out," he said, simply.
As impressively as he rocks people, Scott, who lives on 25th near Lehigh, in North Philly, might be even better at ballhawking.
In two seasons, he has made seven interceptions and five have been returned for touchdowns.
"On the first one [last year], the guy ran a seam route," Scott said. "Like a skinny, skinny post. I didn't know what I was doing, at first, so I just ran with him. Then I saw the ball, jumped up off both feet and got the pick. Then I saw daylight and ran my fastest.
"When I go up in the air and catch that ball, I always think touchdown. Whatever color jersey we're wearing, whether it's black, white or red, I follow the guys with that color."
He smiled. "I would love to have another pick-six this season."
And, as you can imagine, Scott is hoping the stands will be rocking Saturday as Imhotep continues the Pub's best football run in nine seasons of PIAA play.
"Before the season started, honestly, we had a mix of feelings because you're never sure how things will go with a new coach," Scott said. "But when coach Albie got started with us, he said right away, 'We're gonna be a winning team. And it's gonna be the hard way or the highway.'