By Brandon Speck
SMITHVILLE – When the Smithville Seminoles hit the road Friday night for the state quarterfinal round of the MHSAA Class 1A playoffs at Shelby Broad Street, they won’t be the most athletic team on the field.
That’s fine with them.
The Seminoles (9-3) have quietly made their case, none more personified than by two of their unassuming playmakers, running back Tyler Hood and quarterback Drew Lann.
“They’re not the most athletic guys, not the fastest guys, but they’re really smart and play really hard,” said Smithville coach Bubba Tacker, his voice nearly gone from Friday’s 22-20 win against Shaw.
Hood, all of 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, has 1,550 yards and 23 touchdowns.
His quarterback, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Lann, quietly goes about his business. He has 1,018 rushing yards and 18 TDs and another 540 yards passing.
“It’s pretty obvious we’re not the most athletic team out there,” Lann said. “But we’re going to play our hardest. (Credit) has to go to our line. They’re making the holes.
“(Tyler) has done a real good job making plays. He had pretty big shoes to fill. We’re pretty confident he’s going to make the first man miss.”
Hood is a running back for the first time. He moved from the slot last season and has filled big shoes left behind by J.T. Pitts.
‘Better each week’
Smithville is no stranger to facing better athletes. Tacker felt that way against Falkner and feels that way against Broad Street. Not that he doesn’t have athletes, but he is confident his Seminoles will be ready to compete.
Smithville beat Falkner to earn a first-round home playoff game. This week is for a North finals berth.
“Anytime you can establish the run, that’s huge,” Tacker said. “Our offensive line has done a great job all year. We kind of felt coming into the season that they were going to be a pretty good line. They’ve gotten better and better each week.”