Sophomore shoulders the load for Isabella

Published 2:06 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

On the run: Isabella quarterback Tyler Smith has rushed 467 times over the past two seasons.

Isabella’s 40-0 win over rival Thorsby last week was a nice send-off for the team’s seniors since there will be no playoff appearance for the Mustangs this season.

But the player of the game—and The Clanton Advertiser’s Player of the Week—was an underclassman who is on pace to put up some astronomical numbers before his career is through.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Smith had his usual impressive game running the football in coach Scott Booth’s Notre Dame box attack—14 rushes for 130 yards and two touchdowns—but Smith also had his best passing game of the season.

It’s easy to forget Smith’s relative youth because he’s carried such a heavy load the past two seasons. Smith carried the ball 243 times in 10 games this season for 1,262 yards. Last year, he rushed 224 times for 1,337 yards in 11 games.

“I think at times he has thrown the ball better,” assistant coach Jared Day said about Smith’s growth. “He’s more mature, understands the offense better. He’s always played hard.”

While the quarterback isn’t a rah-rah type who gets in his teammates’ faces, Day said his leadership by example is just as effective.

“I can’t remember a single time that he’s had to be asked to pick it up,” Day said about Smith’s effort during practice and games. “He’s going to go hard all the time. To me, that’s as good of a leader as any.”

Smith has been especially active this year because Isabella’s assumed second-leading rusher, DeRodgus Campbell, went down with an injury early in the season and hasn’t returned.

And it’s no surprise to opposing defenses what Isabella will do when it has the ball. So, those defenses often stack the line of scrimmage to defend the run.

Still, Smith has been able to pile up yardage without missing a beat—exactly what his team needs from him.

“He’s pretty much been the same every game: he’s been a leader and carried a big part of the load,” Day said. “And he’s just a great kid.”

Honorable mention

Colby Chambers, Maplesville

•Passed for 132 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-35 win over Jemison.

•Rushed for two touchdowns.