West Oktibbeha quarterback Von Smith said when he was young, "I always wanted to be the guy that threw the ball." (SDN file photo)
Growing up, Von Smith had a love for the quarterback position.
As a senior at West Oktibbeha, he is playing the position and the game he loves.
"When I was young, I always wanted to be the guy that threw the ball," Smith said. "Coach (Adam) Lowrey has taught me how to read defenses. I can step out on the field and look at a defense and know what we can use."
Smith has the Timberwolves at 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the district.
Lowrey has seen a lot of leadership from his senior quarterback and that is something he will never trade.
"You have a captain on the field that can lead the team," Lowrey said. "That's the biggest part of having (a senior quarterback). One thing you can't coach is experience. (Smith) has been starting at quarterback for me for four years. You can't trade that for anything, especially when it's a good ballplayer."
Smith has completed 30 passes in 69 attempts this year for 666 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also rushed the ball 20 times for 220 yards and one touchdown.
It is very rare for Class A quarterbacks to pass as much as Smith does, but there is a special bond between quarterback and coach.
"I have the upmost trust in him," Lowrey said. "I get on to him at practice. I said 'don't throw it to the guy you think I want you to throw it to.' I use to have to explain to him the importance of taking what the defense gives you. If the out is open, throw the out. You don't have to throw the fade route."
For Smith, his confidence is sky high with the trust his coach has given him.
"That builds me up," Smith said. "If your head coach doesn't have trust in you, who is going to have trust in you on the team? My linemen give me all the time in the world to deliver good passes to my wide receivers."
Smith is also a captain and he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. The team follows his lead.
"He's at every practice," Lowrey said. "As emotions go, the team goes. There has been practices before where Von will come in and be down, and the team will be down."
Smith knows how important his attitude and presence are in practice. It is something he doesn't take lightly.
"It's a pretty hard job," Smith said. "You've got to know how to be a captain and run the ship. It starts with the quarterback on every team. You have to put in hard work, so your teammates will follow. You have to come to practice every day hyped up, ready to practice and motivating all the younger guys."
As a senior, this is Smith's last time around. He hopes it ends sometime in December.
"My goal is no less than to get to the championship," Smith said. "I am going to put all that I can and I am going to make sure my team puts in all they can."
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