By MARK KELLER
9:45 PM EST, December 15, 2012
South Hagerstown junior Isiaha Smith broke practically every rushing record in school history in 2012 and set some new standards for Washington County to boot.
What more could a guy want?
“I want to win and make it to the playoffs,” Smith said. “I really want to leave high school saying I played in a playoff game.”
The Rebels were oh-so-close to making the postseason and Smith was the biggest reason. He became the first player in Washington County history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season — finishing with 2,004 on 202 carries — and his 27 touchdowns easily led the county.
Smith is The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Football Offensive Player of the Year.
Smith gave a glimpse into the future in the final game of the 2011 season when he ran for 224 yards and three touchdowns in South’s 40-7 victory over North Hagerstown.
“At the end of his sophomore year, he did things very strong and he worked very hard in the offseason,” said South coach Toby Peer. “We decided that he earned the right to get the bulk of the carries this year, and he stepped up and had a great year for us.”
Smith broke South’s single-season rushing record — held by James Frisby — in Week 6 and topped the Washington County single-season record — held by Smithsburg’s Bill Reuter — in Week 8.
He had 1,814 yards through eight games and the 2,000-yard mark seemed like a foregone conclusion.
“It was kind of hard not to think about it, because everyone was in my ear,” Smith said. “‘You can do this, you can be this.’ It was hard not to let that be a distraction.
But Smith hurt his back in the Week 8 win over Williamsport, and he didn’t tell anyone.
The injury hampered him in a Week 9 loss to Brunswick and he missed about half of the season-ending loss to North.
He needed 23 yards against North to reach 2,000. He surpassed the milestone on a 7-yard run in the third quarter and didn’t get another touch in the game.
“If I have any regrets, it’s that I didn’t tell coach that I was hurt,” Smith said. “It felt bad against Williamsport, then it felt worse against Brunswick. But ... live and learn.”
Peer said he heard criticism during the year about the number of yards Smith was accumulating and that the impression was the running back was being overused.
“He had 202 carries this year. That’s 20 a game,” Peer said. “We weren’t running him out there in games we were winning big. There were some games he only had eight or nine carries and never saw the ball once we got a big lead.”
But when the Rebels did need to lean on Smith, he usually delivered.
“Our philosophy was to keep running the ball and in the fourth quarter our strength and conditioning would prevail,” Peer said. “Isiaha is a big, bruising runner and he wears people down and has ultimate trust in his line.
“But above all, he’s an outstanding young man, very humble and he knows this year wouldn’t have been possible without his teammates.”
Joining Smith on the All-County First Team Offense are:
Nick Karlen, QB, North Hagerstown
Completed 48 of 106 passes for 1,017 yards, 12 TDs and 5 INTs in a run-first offense.
Justin Jardeleza, RB, Boonsboro
Rushed for 806 yards, caught 13 passes for 162 yards and scored 15 total TDs. Strong defensive player, too, registering 77 tackles and 3 INTs.
Isaiah Keyes, RB, North Hagerstown
Rushed for 1,117 yards on 147 carries (7.6 YPC) and scored 17 TDs.
Sherman Harris, WR, Saint James
Led Washington County with 44 catches for 532 yards and five TDs.
Teon Maeser, WR, South Hagerstown
Had 15 receptions for 337 yards and 6 TDs.
Jesse Zeger, WR, Williamsport
Speedy deep threat for the Wildcats had 21 catches for 561 yards and 7 TDs.
Gerick Allen, OL, Boonsboro
MVAL Antietam second-team selection. Opened holes for Warriors’ stable of backs that gained more than 2,500 yards.
Chris Cook, OL
Demetrius Edwards, OL
Marquil Holt, OL
All were MVAL Antietam first-team picks and were key to Smith’s historic season.
Trey King, OL, North Hagerstown
Excellent two-way lineman was a first-team MVAL Antietam pick.
Mark Grunberg, K, North Hagerstown
Made 43 of 56 PATs and helped his defense by booting 20 of his 68 kickoffs for touchbacks.
Kyle Hewlett, UT, North Hagerstown
Rushed for 949 yards on 124 carries and scored 11 TDs. Solid defensive player as well, with 38 tackles, one interception and six passes defended.
Second Team Offense
Pos, Name, School, Class
QB, Brandon Jackson, South Hagerstown, Jr.
RB, Preston Carey, North Hagerstown, So.
RB, Ethan Foster, Boonsboro, Jr.
RB, Jordan Keefer, Hancock, Jr.
WR, Nick Hubbard, Saint James, So.
WR, Collin Schultz, Clear Spring, Jr.
WR, Nick Seabright, Boonsboro, Sr.
OL, Malik Barnwell, South Hagerstown, Sr.
OL, Jacob Hess, Clear Spring, Sr.
OL, Travis Kendle, Williamsport, So.
OL, Brad Taman, North Hagerstown, Sr.
OL, Bryan Tracey, Smithsburg, Sr.
K, Calleb Yurish, Boonsboro, Jr.
UT, Justin Pank, Saint James, Jr.
QB — T.J. Boyer, Williamsport; Bobby Brennan, Saint James; Chad Cowden, Boonsboro; Zach Krall, Smithsburg.
RB — Jared Brant, Clear Spring; Jesse Gentry, Clear Spring; Jack Kelly, Williamsport; Austin Ryan, Smithsburg.
WR/TE — Crosse Barvinchack, North Hagerstown; Michael Hill, South Hagerstown; Devon Mitchell, Hancock; Zach Hopkins, Williamsport; Devon Redman, South Hagerstown.
OL — Judah Metz, Boonsboro; Daniel Stokes, South Hagerstown.
K/P — Craig Coffin, South Hagerstown; Ryan Shoemaker, Williamsport.
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