Linebacker at heart
Despite its toll on the body, Smith loves playing fullback, although his favorite position by far is linebacker.
That sometimes shows when he is running the ball.
“A few times this year, I could have had long touchdown runs, but instead I went right in the middle and hit somebody. The coaches always tease me about that,” he said.
Winn added, “You watch him on film and he always tries to make contact. It’s the linebacker mentality he has.”
But Smith likes fullback not only for his chances to run and catch the ball, but for the blocking.
He also understands more about what he saw from last year’s outstanding fullback at Lewisburg, current Susquehanna University player Merle Moscarello.
“I never understood when Merle would only play one side of the ball and when I stood next to him on the bus, he would be totally exhausted. While everyone else was real excited about winning. Now I see that a little more. This brings new meaning to sore after the game.”
Nevertheless, he added, “Fullback is a pretty fun position to play.”
Change is something that Smith, son of Jeff and Deb Smith of Winfield, encountered in a big way at the end of last school year.
That is when he heard (before it was announced) that the only high school head coach he had ever had, Todd Tilford, was likely leaving for his alma mater, Shikellamy, where his children are students and his sons play football.
“Initially it was definitely a bummer,” he said.
He recalled walking into Tilford’s classroom the week after Shikellamy parted ways with then coach Sam Stroh and told him he knew there was a job opening at Shikellamy.
“He asked, ‘How did you know?” and I said, “I know everything’ and walked away.
“A few weeks later, he brought the team into the auditorium and told us what was happening. The team was bummed out and I was pretty sad about it. I’ve been with Tilford since my freshman year, it was kind of a loss. He is a great man, definitely a great friend of mine, and he will always be.”
But, Smith said because he saw it coming, he was a little more prepared and he could not blame Tilford for doing what was best for his family.
Smith added that having coach Winn has been a blessing and it did not take long to connect with the new coaching staff.
“It’s not the greatest thing that could have happened before my senior year, but it ended up being a blessing.”
He said that Winn, even before he met him, had called four college coaches and told them about him, and sent them films.
‘He is a great guy. He will be a great coach at Lewisburg as long as he stays there,” he said.
Smith has won state medals in track & field as well as wrestling, but football is his favorite, and he plans to play that sport in college. Among the schools he has visited or plans to visit are Penn State, Princeton, Bucknell and Lehigh.
“I am looking at all the different options, trying to narrow it down and see where the Good Lord takes me after this season,” he said.
“I enjoy all three (sports), but football is unlike any other sport. You have to do your own job, elevate your own level of competition at the same time, and it takes the whole team to be great.
“I definitely like that aspect, getting to rely on the person beside you, the person behind you and the people in front of you, and any success anybody has, no matter how great they, are comes back to the team.”
And there is one more thing. “There is nothing like running out with over 2,000 fans in the crowd on a Friday night. Wrestling in a full gym gets pretty loud, but it’s not quite the same.”