It wasn’t an accident that Laron Scott blocked a field goal in last Saturday’s 50-30 win over Furman.
The Georgia Southern cornerback made the play in the second quarter on Paladin kicker Ray Early’s 41-yard attempt. The block led to a 23-yard Adrian Mora field goal and a 26-13 Eagles halftime lead.
The play, Scott said, was set up by a blocked extra-point attempt earlier in the game and a position change.
“They were pinching in toward the middle after (Brent) Russell blocked the extra-point attempt,” Scott said. “They were concerned with him and our other guys in the middle.
“I saw the guy leaning in hard, so I just took off and got it. I knew I could get in from the edge.”
The Eagles blocked two kicks in the game, the first coming on an extra-point attempt.
Furman was looking for a 7-7 tie following a 96-yard kickoff return, but Russell blocked the kick and Scott returned it for a two-point conversion and a 9-6 Georgia Southern lead. On the field-goal block, Scott was lined up on the opposite side of the field that he normally plays in kicking situations. Scott said he convinced the coaches to let him move, and it paid dividends.
“I normally play the ‘scoop’ corner,” Scott said. “That’s the side away from the blockers. I asked the coaches to let me move, but they were hesitant. I finally talked them into letting me try it in practice. After I blocked two kicks against our first-team kicking team they moved me.”
The unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Eagles take a break from Southern Conference play when they meet Presbyterian (2-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Paulson Stadium.
Presbyterian is led by second-year head coach Harold Nichols, a former Georgia Southern assistant coach. Nichols was on Tim Stowers’ staff from 1993-95 and later spent nine years with Stowers at Rhode Island.
“Anytime you get a blocked kick in a game it’s huge,” GSU coach Jeff Monken said. “But, to get two is really huge. That was a great play by Laron to get to the ball. He really strained his body. It’s great to see a kid sacrifice his body and to make a great effort to make a play like he did.
“Laron’s a great, great kid. He’s come a long way in the last couple of years. He’s really grown as a person.”
He was a third-team Associated Press All-American cornerback last year, and he was first-team All-Southern Conference as both a cornerback and kick-return specialist.
He currently is having a season befitting of earning similar honors again, and he is drawing the attention of NFL scouts, who like his speed and toughness.
Scott, who played with a shoulder injury last year that required postseason surgery, currently holds or shares seven school records and is closing in on three others.
One of the top kick returners in FCS, he owns the school career mark for kick return yards with 1,508 after a 31-yard return against Furman. Scott also has 11 career interceptions, three shy of the school mark.