York, PA - His head coach jokes that he never seems tired -- which is something, when you consider how much time West York senior Zack Smith spends on a football field each Friday night.
There are Smith's obvious roles, of course. No. 1 receiver. Ball-hawking cornerback.
But he also serves as the punter.
And the punt returner.
And the go-to source whenever West York needs a game-changing play.
At times, it might seem as
West York's Zack Smith, left, hits Governor Mifflin quarterback David Clemens last season. This year, Smith is the Bulldogs' leading receiver, as well as a cornerback, punter and punt returner. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- File)
if Smith never leaves the field.
All of which can require a seemingly bottomless supply of stamina. Or maybe just a good poker face.
"I just try not to show I'm tired so I can stay in," Smith said.
Usually, it works. Smith's myriad roles have all been essential to the Bulldogs, who head into this Friday's home matchup with rival Dover a perfect 6-0 on the season (1-0 in YAIAA Division II).
Many of his most notable highlights have been as a pass catcher. Through six games, Smith has hauled in 35 receptions for 574 yards and seven touchdowns -- all tops in the YAIAA. He has accounted for 81 percent of West York's receiving yards.
Believe it or not, that only begins to capture his contributions.
Smith also has intercepted three passes, and he returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown during a Week 3 nail-biter against Spring Grove. In the Bulldogs' opening night win at Central York, Smith pulled off a fake punt pass to keep a drive going late in the first half.
West York coach Ron Miller said that, at times, Smith has "put the team on his back."
"It may not even be something that people really notice," the coach said this week. "We're struggling against Dallastown this year, and he does a great job punting. Now that may not seem like a big deal, but when you're changing which way the field is leaning at that time, that's big.
"He just does so many things. But it's the little things I don't think people value enough."
Smith said he enjoys the do-it-all role. He picked up punting when he was in middle school, and he's been returning kicks for as long as he can remember.
"I do like it a lot," Smith said. "If there's something I can do to change the game ... like on the punt return, if I can turn something small into something big."
His speed also gives West York an ever-present threat at receiver, which in turn stretches out defenses for the Bulldogs' ground game. Smith already has caught four passes of 40 yards or more this season.
Another one or two of those would be welcome against the Eagles, who knocked off West York, 30-27, last season. Smith understands the teams' rivalry better than most -- his mother went to Dover.
"It means a lot to everybody," Smith said.
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Getting defensive: You can thank the Dallastown defense in large part for the team's recent three-game win streak. The Wildcats (3-3, 1-0 Division I) have allowed seven points or fewer in each of those victories, culminating in last week's 31-7 win against South Western.
"They've been playing very well and getting around the ball a lot better," Dallastown coach Kevin Myers said. "We've created a couple turnovers defensively."
After an 0-3 start, the Wildcats will try to get over .500 on Friday at William Penn (2-4, 1-0).
Go-to guy: The term "workhorse" is an overused one when it comes to describing running backs. But it certainly fits York County Tech's Calvin Savary.
The Spartans' junior has carried 168 times this season -- the most in the YAIAA, and 32 more than the next closest back (Northeastern senior Daniel Adams). Savary also ranks second in the league with 934 rushing yards -- a mere 582 behind Eastern York's Alex Cooley.
Canner keep away: Coaches continually harp on the importance of limiting mistakes -- and especially, cutting down on turnovers.
No team in the YAIAA has done that better this season than Biglerville. The Canners (5-1, 4-1 Div. III) have committed just two giveaways, while forcing 15 turnovers on defense. The plus-13 ratio is tops in the league.
Rockets rebound: Spring Grove (4-2, 1-0) has a long way to go to claim its first Division I title in a decade. But if the Rockets do so, they would end the longest title drought of any of the division's six schools. Spring Grove last won a Division I title in 2002, when it shared the crown with New Oxford.
Division I has seen its share of parity during the last 10 seasons. The only program to repeat as champion in that span was Central York, which won an outright championship in 2008 and shared the title with South Western the following season.