Schmidthorst tackles his way to defensive honor
Two words best sum up Triston Schmidthorst’s senior season; tackling machine.
Those words are the most fitting, since Schmidthorst led the county in tackles by a wide margin en route to being named The Clanton Advertiser 2018 Defensive Player of the Year.
He finished the regular season with 139 tackles and averaged roughly 14 per game.
The season was highlighted by a 25-tackle performance against Bibb County on Oct. 12, in which Schmidthorst set a school record in the process.
“I don’t want to say that I deserved it, but I worked really hard for it,” Schmidthorst said.
According to Schmidthorst, he always played more on the offensive side of the ball until this season.
The decision to give him a larger role on the defense came about in last year’s spring game against Calera.
It was a decision that was born out of necessity after losing starters from the year before to graduation created a void.
Filling the void with Schmidthorst turned out to be the right decision, as he seemed to be a natural fit in the role of a hybrid safety.
“Our defensive coaches helped me out a lot,” Schmidthorst said.
His position was unique in that it allowed him to “float” around and make plays in a variety of ways. He could play back in coverage or come up closer to the line of scrimmage depending on what the opposing offense was trying to accomplish.
“They would put me in a position called the monster, where I would be out of the box but still in the box,” Schmidthorst said. “Offensive linemen couldn’t account for me, so I would be all over the field.”
Schmidthorst had free range to adapt depending on the play scheme and oftentimes relied on his instincts in his pursuit of the ball.
“I think it fit me, because I have a high motor,” Schmidthorst said. “I don’t like ever holding back in a game.”
At the time, Schmidhorst did not realize that he was approaching a school record.
“I was just going and didn’t think much about it until after the game,” Schmidthorst said. “I was really sore after the game.”
Schmidthorst takes pride in what the current crop of seniors has accomplished and believes that they have helped point the program in the right direction moving forward.
“It’s something that I’ll always be able to look back on,” Schmidthorst said.
He has been playing football since he was 7 years old and has hopes of continuing his career at the college level.
NOTE: The content below should be placed inside a box next to the defensive player of the year story.
Defensive line: Kane Belk, senior, Thorsby
Defensive line: Tristen Thetford, senior, Maplesville
Defensive line: Brett Johnson, sophomore, Isabella
Defensive line: Christin Brown, senior, Maplesville
Defensive line: Jacob Anderson, senior, Jemison
Defensive line: Kaleb Brasher, sophomore, Isabella
Linebacker: Cade Williams, senior, Chilton County
Linebacker: Chase Birchfield, senior, Thorsby
Linebacker: Brent Jones, sophomore, Thorsby
Linebacker: Patrick Pickett, senior, Jemison
Linebacker: Jaren Swindle, senior, Chilton County
Linebacker: Timothy Bradley, senior, Maplesville
Defensive back: Triston Schmidthorst, senior, Chilton County
Defensive back: Carlton McCary, senior, Billingsley
Defensive back: Jakavian Mckenzie, senior, Maplesville
Defensive back: Tyler Jackson, senior, Thorsby
Defensive back: Walker Motley, senior, Billingsley
Return specialist: Carlton McCary, senior, Billingsley
Punter: Tucker Patterson, junior, Thorsby