By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Football Player of the Week: North Hall's Andrew Smith
Placeholder Image

Honor Roll

Zac Little, North Hall: Rushed for 199 yards on 15 carries against Dawson County.

Zac Cheshire, Chestatee: Rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries against Stephens County.

Dalton Whitfield, White County: Rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries against East Hall.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Went 27 of 31 passing for 314 yards and six touchdowns against Heritage.

Jackson McDonald, Flowery Branch: Went 12 of 17 passing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 63 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries against Salem.

Cameron Davis, Flowery Branch: Caught three passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and rushed in another touchdown against Salem.

Collin Pettell, Riverside: Went 14 of 21 passing for 336 yards and a touchdown against Oglethorpe County.

Zach English, West Hall: Went 7 of 8 passing for 99 yards and three touchdowns against Fannin County.

Daniel McCrary, Lumpkin County: Passed for 283 yards and three touchdowns against Walnut Grove.

Johnathan Gilreath, Lumpkin County: Caught passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns against Walnut Grove.

Xavier Gant, Buford: Rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns against Banks County.

Chance McClure, Commerce: Rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries against George Walton Academy.

Jamir Walton, Commerce: Rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown against George Walton Academy.

Tristen Jackson, Jefferson: Rushed for 72 yards and three touchdowns against Greene County.

Evan Shirreffs, Jefferson: Went 13 of 18 passing for 206 yards and three touchdowns against Greene County.

Cooper Young, Jefferson: Recorded 14 tackles against Greene County.

Ben Brissey, Jackson County: Caught two passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns against North Oconee.

Evan Breakspear, Jackson County: Recorded 12 tackles against North Oconee.

Andrew Smith is usually worn out when the final buzzer sounds at the end of a North Hall game.

The Trojans’ senior doesn’t get much time off. As a quarterback in a run-heavy wishbone offense, a former all-state free safety and a return specialist, Smith is almost always on the field and moving.

“I won’t lie, it wears on me,” Smith said. “But I just want to be out there as much as I can and help the team win. In the end, even if I’m tired, my teammates are picking me up and making me push through.”

North Hall is reaping the benefits of Smith’s workload. The Trojans are 4-0 to start the season, and Smith’s statistics are piling up. In last Friday’s 51-6 region-opening win over Dawson County, he rushed for 97 yards and four touchdowns while adding five tackles on defense.

For his efforts, Smith is The Times’ Football Player of the Week.

“It was a good game for us,” Smith said. “Coach wanted us to make a statement opening up region play.”

Smith didn’t have the most rushing yards in the game — that honor went to teammate Zac Little, who churned out 199 yards — but he was flawless in the red zone. He scampered 30 yards to give North Hall a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, then dominated Dawson County’s own end of the field with three more short-yardage scores in the second quarter to help give the Trojans a commanding 37-0 lead at halftime.

By the time the game was over, North Hall had run for more than 400 yards and easily broke in the region win column.

“Coach really relies on me to get the offense rolling, and me and (Little) both had really good nights,” Smith said. “The offensive line did a great job — those guys really came together and have gotten better from Week 1 to now.”

Smith leads North Hall this season in rushing attempts (49) and touchdowns (8). His 363 rushing yards are second on the team, only behind Little.

When he does throw the ball, which isn’t often in the Trojans’ offense, he makes it count. Three of his nine completions this year have gone for touchdowns.

Defensively, he’s fourth on the team with 23 tackles.

It’s Smith’s first year as a two-way starter after sharing the quarterback job for North Hall during the 2012 season. He still managed to rush for more than 600 yards despite playing alongside fellow signal caller Bradley Brown, leaving Trojans coach Bob Christmas feeling confident about tossing the responsibilities of another full-time position on the 5-foot-7 150-pound athlete.

“People would say, ‘you still want to start him at safety?’” Christmas said. “And I’d say ‘heck yes. The kid doesn’t want to come off the field.’”

Through four games, still no regrets.

“He is like a coach on the field,” Christmas said. “He knows the game, he studies the game, he has great instinct. You always know you’re going to get everything out of them.

“When the game is over, he is spent. He’s given you everything he’s got, and he’s just fun to watch play.”

Smith’s talents haven’t gone unnoticed. He has offers from Air Force and North Carolina-Charlotte, with heavy interest from Furman as well. His desired positions have varied from slot receiver to hybrid receiver/running back, to full-time defensive back.

He’s currently committed to play baseball at Georgia Southern, but has already been cleared to play baseball at Air Force beginning his sophomore year, while playing football as well.

Smith’s final decision on his future won’t come for a while. With six more region games ahead of North Hall — including a regular-season finale with defending Class AAA state champion Buford on Nov. 8 — his focus remains on keeping his team unbeaten as long as it takes to bring a Region 7-AAA and a potential Class AAA crown back to The Brickyard.

“We’re playing well right now, but we could be a lot better,” Smith said. “The coaches are preaching that to keep us from staying cocky and keeping up complacent in what we do.”