By Rich Place
Many times in an autumn Friday night, you might still see Harry Scull Jr. on the high school football field.
The 1984 Springville-Griffith Institute graduate may not have on the uniform and pads that earned him a handful of accolades in high school, but instead he’ll probably carry equipment as part of his passion: photography.
A newspaper photographer now that often covers high school sports, Scull for several years now has found himself on the other side of the action after being a three-sport athlete at Springville in football, basketball and baseball.
“Now I get to cover the sport that I played and, many times, I get to cover games where I played,” he said. “Boy, it brings back memories.”
Scull was on the undefeated football teams in 1982 and 1983 and played quarterback, linebacker and punter. He was the defensive leader in tackles in 1983 and had a punting average of 38.1 yards.
“I was by no means a first-team all-star in any of that stuff,” he said. “I know where my athletic abilities were — I know I was gifted by the Lord.”
Participating in sports at an early age wasn’t a hard decision for Scull, who grew up in the North Cascade Drive neighborhood with plenty of other kids.
“Living in the neighborhood like that and being around a lake, we were outside playing sports 365 days a year,” he said. “We didn’t have computers, cell phones, video games — any of that. We were outside literally 365 days a year.”
Games like “snow football” and “snow basketball” weren’t uncommon but, with a lake nearby, they also laced up the skates often when the weather allowed.
“Believe it or not, my favorite sport to play of all was hockey,” he said. “That came the most natural. I was on ice skates by the latter part of two.”
Scull played one year or organized hockey and then was on adult leagues into his 40s, he said, but noted that football was his favorite sport he played at Springville.
“There were men of great character that coached your team,” he said. “They had class. They were your fathers when you were on the field.”
With coaches as role models, Scull said he took a lot away from playing football — as well as the other sports — that went beyond winning games. Seeing coaches nearly every weekend now as he covers high school sports as a photographer, Scull admitted he notices that trait in some teams but doesn’t see it in others.
“It’s weird because not that Springville was the only way, but I still have those memories of how we were taught, how we were coached and how we were led, and I can see that when I go out and cover other games – where it is and where it isn’t,” he said. “And it takes me back.”
Following high school, Scull attended Buffalo State where he played football for another two years. He eventually moved from the Springville area but not for long, and eventually relocated back to his hometown.
For Scull, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“To me, this is home — this will always be home,” he said. “I bleed purple and gold. I try to go back to as many sporting events as I can and give back to as many people as I can. It’s important to me.”