Indian Spotlight Spring 2019: Zach Smith Rising Senior #58
When I was asked what Saint Joseph High School football means to me, it was hard to put into words. It means so much more than a couple paragraphs can express. The football program here has taught me so many things, and I can’t thank the entire coaching staff enough for that. The lessons I’ve learned will help me on the field, and most importantly in life.
When I think of this program, I think firstly of the history and tradition. I remember the first football game I ever attended when I was very young: Saint Joe vs Marian. I think of all the old stories my dad told me about what it was like when he was wearing the Saint Joe uniform, playing at the Old School Field. I think of how much I enjoy playing on Friday nights with all of my brothers. I think of all the friends I’ve made through this program and how close I am with all of my teammates. Saint Joe football players are gritty and determined kids who play their hearts out to win for each other.
I’ve been coming to Saint Joe games my whole life, and something I’ve always admired about this program is how the players never give up. I vividly remember going to state championship games in Indianapolis and watching old Saint Joe teams make deep playoff runs with significantly smaller players and a smaller overall team than their opponents.
This great program has also helped me develop some of the closest and best friendships I could ever ask for. The Saint Joe Football Family is one of the best families to be a part of, and one I encourage all to join given the chance. The memories this program has given me are very important to me. From team camp at Manchester, scoring a touchdown my freshman year, to celebrations after wins, everything about this program is amazing and something I will cherish forever.
I would like to directly thank Coach Whitten, Coach Waltz, Coach Summers, and all the other coaches for helping me become the player and young man I am today. Coach Waltz helped me this past year when he saw that I had potential on the defensive line and helped make the switch from linebacker to defensive tackle as smooth as possible. It would be extremely difficult to find a coach that is as dedicated to this school and the students as Coach Waltz.
Coach Summers was new to the program last season. Throughout the summer, he made sure I was always giving my best effort and helped me achieve a goal of mine that I’ve had for a very long time: start for Saint Joe during Friday Night Lights. Without Coach Summers pushing me in the right direction, that would not have been possible.
And last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Coach Whitten. He has helped me with so many things, from meetings and extra film sessions to ensure that I am 100 percent prepared for every opponent. He helped me with things much deeper than football, and is someone I can talk to. There is no one I would rather play for than Coach Whitten.
I would like to thank all the members of the Class of 2019. Especially Ashton Ruszkowksi, Noah Hickey, and Austin Lee. I’ve looked to them for advice and help ever since I was at Corpus Christi, and continue to do so to this day. They taught me many things, especially how to lead by example and play the game the right way.
I also want to thank Will Faulkner and Kenzel Kelly. These two guys have shown me how to be a Saint Joe Indian football player. When injury struck and I had to fill Will’s spot in the playoffs last year, he helped me through it all and made it as easy as it could be. Kenzel always challenged me and pushed me to get better. While it was frustrating in the beginning, I know you made me a much better player and I thank you both so much for that. I also need to thank all the other offensive linemen from this year: Dom, Mike, Zach, and Andrew. Thank you guys for pushing me all year long and never letting me give up.
During these difficult times, it has been hard at some points to stay focused on my schoolwork. But through the help of my teammates and coaches, this eLearning period is not so bad after all. It gives me opportunities throughout the day to exercise while workouts are technically put on hold for the time being. I have been counting down the days until the team gets to go down to Indianapolis and play Heritage Christian on August 21st. To stay prepared I have been lifting weights at home whenever I can, and also snapping a football as much as possible so whenever we get to get back on Father Bly Field and compete, the Indians and I will be ready to go.