CATEGORY: FOL High School Football
HED:Smithville’s Grier makes play for North
By D.E. Wheeler
MADISON – Matt Grier was an awesome offensive force for the Smithville Seminoles during his high school career, rushing for 2,219 yards his senior season.
But while his offensive success is part of his high school past, his road to future success might be on defense.
Selected to the North squad of Friday’s Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic as a linebacker, Grier was a definite impact player in a defensive 17-7 win over the South at Madison Central High School.
“I think he is an impact football player,” said Itawamba Community College head coach Jay Miller, who was attending Friday’s contest to watch several of his area signees compete. “He is one of the best in our district in a while.”
In the all-star game, the North needed defensive impact early, as two early fumbles and a long punt return gave the South three apparently easy scoring opportunites. Grier was part of that impact, helping the North deny the South any points on those first three possessions.
“I think I could have played a whole lot better,” said Grier, who had three unassisted tackles in the first half. “We had a lot of good players, and they (coaches) just tried to put us where we could help the team.”
Grier’s most obvious help to the first quarter defensive stand was on the South’s first possession. After fumbling the opening kickoff, the North saw the South go from the 25-yard line to the 12-yard line.
On first down from the 12, South quarterback Javerro January dropped back to pass, eventually rolling left. Reading the pass, Grier dropped back into coverage on that side.
Seeing a moment of hesitation by January, Grier darted into the backfield and sacked him for a 6-yard loss, one of eight such negative plays created by the North defense.
“We had the easy job of just lining these guys up,” North assistant and Falkner head coach Rickey Bates said just as ICC’s Miller was walking by.
“You’ve got a good one, don’t you,” Bates said to Miller.
“A lot of things are going to determine what we do with him that we don’t have control over,” said Miller on whether Grier would play on offense or defense at ICC. “He’s like having an insurance policy – when you’re hurting, he can give you some releif.
“Not many kids in America can play the positions he can.”
“Where ever they put me, I’ll just try to do 100 per cent,” Grier said.
Notes: Itawamba’s Miller had five future Indians playing in the game: Grier, Andy Loving of Shannon, Jason Edwards of Tupelo, Corey Trice of Shannon, and Walter Zinn of Pontotoc.
“It felt good to see these kids out there, and it gave them a real jump for the fall,” Miller said.
Zinn contributed on defense for the North as well, with four tackles and one assist.