FRANKLIN FURNACE – The Green Bobcats run to their undefeated start, a second place finish in the SOC I, as well as clinching their first playoff berth since 1990 might have seem improbable to those on the outside. But to those that dawned the Green and White for all ten regular season weeks a season ago, they knew it was a goal they were absolutely capable of achieving.
A junior a season ago, now Green senior Alec Smith will be one of the faces of the Bobcats daunting rushing attack which helped lift their team to glory a season ago. Ahead of his senior season, we caught up with Smith to reflect on last year’s incredible run, as well as what lies in store for Green this season.
Q: Looking back at it now that we’re several months removed, how fun was last year’s run for you all as a team?
Alec Smith: Last season was a blast. It was a great experience to win all those games, compete for a conference championship, and make the playoffs for the first time since 1990. We couldn’t have done it without working hard and getting all the support from the community, our families, and coaches. I truly believe that we have the best and most supportive fans around. People outside of our small town may not realize that, but the ones inside of it do. It’s something that you truly have to experience to understand. The success that we had last season impacted our community beyond measures. I believe that seeing that success in the town of our size showed how much we are worth and capable of. Also, the levy being passed for a new school was one of the most amazing and exciting things to happen in our town. It was great to end the season knowing that the community and the younger kids are getting a new school that they deserve.
Q: How much work did you yourself, and then as a team put in to help you all reach the heights that you did?
AS: We put in blood, sweat, and tears throughout the season last year. Our coaches always pushed us to be our best on and off the field, and we were thankful for that. I wasn’t apart of the 2017 team that went 1-9, but I can imagine that it was beyond challenging. Even though they picked up 1 win, they fought the whole season and never gave up. It takes heart to keep grinding every week whenever your not getting any wins. And I respect all of those guys for that. I truly wish I would’ve been apart of that team. That season made everyone so much tougher. I believe thats a key reason why everyone worked so hard last season. To be able to go from 1-9 to 8-3, compete for a conference title, and play in a playoff game is unreal. I’m very thankful to play with such great guys. They really don’t know how to quit, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Q: What did last year’s seniors do for you all in the leadership department? How have you all stepped up and will have to step up to fill that leadership now that you’re a senior?
AS: Our seniors last year were some of the best guys I’ve ever played with. They were great players to look up to. They knew the game of football and gave everything they had every game. I will miss all of them. A lot of us upcoming seniors have played the leadership role since we were underclassmen. That’s a huge advantage since we still have most of the same leadership from last year. We know what we need to do to be successful and win ball games. We have to set good example for the younger guys so they can take over once we’re gone.
Q: Now that Oak Hill is no longer in the conference, how do you think you all will fair in this year’s conference race and what will it take to get there?
AS: Oak Hill leaving the conference doesn’t change anything. After last season, now I think we’re the team to beat. We definitely have a target on our backs. We can win the league, but it’s not gonna be easy. We can’t underestimate anyone and we have to work just as hard as we did last year. We graduated five seniors, so we have mostly everyone coming back which should be a huge advantage.
Q: Goals and expectations for this season? What are you hoping to achieve during your senior season as a team?
AS: This year, we hope to achieve a lot more than last year. An undefeated season, a conference title, and to win a playoff game. We have a great community behind us, so there is no doubt in mind that it can happen. When you play football as Bobcat, you don’t just play for your school, you play for the whole town. We’re all in it together. As for me and the rest of the seniors, it’s the beginning of the end for us. It’s our last ride, and we’re gonna give it our all.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved