The arthritis in Leonard Scotten’s hips, legs and neck make it uncomfortable for the 83-year-old former Greenwood football coach to sit in cold weather for the duration of a high school game.
This evening, Scotten, who presided over the program’s two previous semistate runs (1988 and 1990), intends to relax in the comfort of his Greenwood residence while awaiting text message updates from his wife, Joyce — who will make the 70-mile drive to East Central with friends to root on the Woodmen in their Class 4A semistate game.
Despite his age, Leonard Scotten possesses a sharp memory when it comes to the teams and players he coached during his 27 seasons with the Woodmen.
Having attended a few of Greenwood’s games this season when temperatures were warmer, he’s able to draw parallels between the current Woodmen team and his semistate squads.
Mostly, it’s a closeness among players and good senior leadership.
“This Greenwood team knows what it can do and keeps persevering,” said Scotten, who coached the Woodmen from 1958-68 and later 1981-96.
“They don’t have any flashy stars, but the quarterback (Seth Gallman) is a great leader of the team. He is in control of the attitude his team has. The kids respect him. It’s a team that has some good ingredients.”
And strong ties to the past.
Senior tight end Conner Battinau’s father, Dominique, played for Scotten in the early 1990s and currently is a Woodmen assistant coach. Three decades earlier, the grandfather of senior linebacker Tim Johns was part of the Greenwood football program.
Long before leading Greenwood to two semistates in three years — both teams lost to Franklin Central — Scotten guided the fortunes of the 1965 Woodmen that finished with a record of 9-0-1. More than two decades later, the coach hadn’t lost his touch.
The 1988 Woodmen, led by quarterback Todd Robbins and receiver Brad Reed, lost a heartbreaking 3-0 decision to the Flashes in the Class 4A semistate. Two years later, a Greenwood outfit featuring quarterback Scott Beasley and linemen Aaron Stidham and Jayme Washel lost to the Flashes by a more substantial margin.
Reed played cornerback at Princeton and was second-team All-Ivy League as a senior. Washel went on to be a three-year starter at Purdue along the defensive line.
Scotten finished his time at Greenwood with a record of 162-106-9 and later worked as a volunteer coach at Whiteland through the 2011 season. He was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in July 2015.
If the Woodmen prevail tonight against East Central, Scotten isn’t about to miss Greenwood’s first trip to a state championship football game.
The Lucas Oil Stadium roof will be shut, which means no cold weather.
“Joyce and I enjoy going downtown,” Scotten said. “It would be great to see them there.”