(Rossville, Ga) – The quarterback room at Rossville High School had its share of big names back in its heyday. Billy Baker led the Bulldogs to back-to-back championships in 1955 and 1956 before going on to star at Furman. Paul Painter led the 1962 undefeated state championship team before signing to play quarterback for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech.
Other names include Toppy Van who played at Tech, Wink Baker who is the Hall-of-Fame at East Tennessee State and Dennis Bradshaw who went on to play at Memphis. One of the best stories, however, is Bobby Scott who starred for the Tennessee Volunteers and followed with a long and distinguished career in professional football.
Scott took over as Rossville’s starting quarterback as a sophomore in 1964 and saw his career all they way to handing the ball off to Herschel Walker with the New Jersey Generals in 1983. Along the way, there were ups and downs, and three October games in Atlanta.
October 28, 1966 – Rossville Bulldogs vs Marietta Blue Devils at Northcutt Stadium
Rossville Head Coach Lynn Murdock took his Bulldogs to Marietta in a clash of undefeated teams; the Region 6-AAA title was on the line. At a time when only the region champion went to the state playoffs, stakes were high. The Bulldogs pinned their hope on their all-state quarterback, but Scott’s team was at a disadvantage to the much more talented Blue Devils. Despite passing for 223 yards, Scott’s team was soundly beaten by the top ranked Marietta squad.
Scott would finish out his high school season at their home, Hutcheson Memorial Field, with a 25-0 winning to cap off a three-year record of 28-3. He signed to play college football for the Tennessee Volunteers, where he would return to Atlanta as the starting quarterback against the 13th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
October 10, 1970 – Tennessee Volunteers vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Grant Field
Hopes were high for the Volunteers 1970 season. They had finished the 1969 season 9-2 and ranked 12th overall and Scott returned for his senior year as the starting quarterback. After an early season lost to Auburn, Tennessee came to Atlanta with their season on the line. Eddie McAshan was the Jackets starting quarterback, but it was Scott’s day. He completed his first five passes in a row before finishing with 11 completions for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Afterwards, Scott told the AJC, “I’m happy to have a good day down here where I know folks and where I might have gone to school.”
After winning the MVP in the Sugar Bowl against Air Force, Scott was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, where in 1974, he backed up Archie Manning. On the week of the game against the Atlanta Falcons, Head Coach John North benched Manning and went with Scott as the starter.
October 20, 1974 – New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons at Fulton County Stadium
Scott didn’t disappoint, he found tight end Paul Seal for a 36-yard touchdown pass, the only TD in the Saints 13-3 victory. He admitted afterward the game that he didn’t get much sleep the night before, but told the AJC, “I will sleep well tonight.” Scott stuck around for nine seasons and got 1 career starts, including a 30-0 win over the Falcons in New Orleans on October 10, 1976, exactly six years after his big win at Georgia Tech.
Scott finished his career with the New Jersey Generals, where he spent most of his time watching Hershel Walker rush for 1,812 yards as a rookie in 1983. It’s fun to see how a career takes a curvy road, and Scott’s meandering through the sports pages for twenty years still resonates with pride in Rossville.