In 2011, Zach Tarbox spearheaded the offense for the Gettysburg High boys' soccer team with a school-record 39 goals that led the Warriors to a fourth-place finish in the District 3 Class AA tournament.
He graduated in June and took his considerable talents on the pitch, along with a school-record 93 career goals, 700 miles south to Nashville, where the two-time All-Area Player of the Year now plies his trade for Lipscomb University.
It left a gaping hole to be filled on the offensive side of the ball for head coach Scott Hancock's squad in 2012.
While one player was unable to make up entirely for the loss, senior attacking midfielder Joseph Schmitz put forth his best effort and, for that, he has been named the 2012 All-Area Boys' Soccer Player of the Year.
Schmitz, like Tarbox the previous two seasons, was named the Mid-Penn Colonial Division player of the year and received an all-state nomination.
After garnering a second-team All-Area nod following a four-goal, 10-assist campaign as a junior, Schmitz upped his production to a team-high 19 goals and added nine assists, third on the team, to cap his career with 29 goals and 23 assists.
"I figured Joe would be more involved in the scoring this year, but I didn't think he'd lead the team in goals," Hancock said. "Last year, he played the same position as he did this year. However, our formation was a little bit different this year. Therefore his role was a little different and he did a great job of adjusting."
About the change in role, Schmitz responded, "I knew coming in that we needed guys to step up to fill the void. As a senior and captain, I knew it was my job to do it. Halfway through the year, I looked at the stats and saw I was leading the team in goals. That was surprising to me."
Schmitz recorded a pair of hat tricks as a senior, both in wins over Big Spring, and had two goals against Cumberland Valley in a 3-2 loss on penalty kicks in the Mid-Penn tournament semifinals. He also pocketed two goals each against Greencastle-Antrim and Boiling Springs, both in Gettysburg's second matchups with those respective division opponents.
A four-year starter, Schmitz was a key contributer on a squad that has captured the last three Colonial Division titles and is riding a 35-game division winning streak. The Warriors' season ended surprisingly to a division opponent, as they lost to Greencastle, 3-2, in the District 3 Class AA quarterfinals after shutting out the Blue Devils twice in the regular season.
Schmitz has been accepted to Penn State University and has applied to Delaware, George Washington, Pittsburgh and South Carolina. He plans to try to walk on at any of those institutions. He also has been recruited by Lebanon Valley and Geneva, where he would play on the soccer team at either school.
"I'm looking at academics first. That's the most important thing," he said. "At the same time, I would love to play soccer, too, if it works out."
He has an eye on majoring in kinesiology or exercise science with plans of eventually attending medical school.
Schmitz is the third straight Warrior, following Tarbox's back-to-back selections, and fifth overall in the past 12 years to win All-Area Player of the Year, but things other than his accomplishments on the field had Hancock beaming.
"Joe is an outstanding young man and an excellent captain," Hancock said. "He's a hard worker, on the field and in the classroom, a great player and everything that you look for in a high school student-athlete. I couldn't be any happier for him."
Hancock said, Schmitz improved his speed most in his four years in the program.
Hancock said, "He got really fast. His technical certainty improved a lot and his decision-making. He was fast with the ball, but also fast with his decisions, and he usually made the right decision."
Schmitz, who also is a distance runner on the Gettysburg track team, and the Warriors ran the table in the Colonial Division for the second straight year.
Schmitz said, "We came in more humble than we were last year. We didn't expect to go undefeated, and we knew we'd have to work hard to be a good team. We came together and meshed as a unit very well."
All-Area Players of the Year
--- Connor Fees, jr., Gettysburg: A first-time selection, the defender helped the Warriors' defense to allow only 15 goals in 19 games, including two streaks of four straight shutouts.
--- Nate Fox, sr., Biglerville: Another first-time honoree, Fox's ability to execute long throw-ins was a potent weapon for the PIAA Class A semifinalist. He finished with nine goals and a team-best 13 assists.
--- Koby Griest, soph., Biglerville: Griest signalled a promising future for the Canners. The first-time All-Area nominee contributed nine goals and three assists.
--- Scott Hess, jr., South Western: Earning his second first-team selection, Hess has been the pivot on offense for a winning Mustang squad. He posteed nine goals and a team-best 13 assists.
--- Mario Ortega, jr., Biglerville: Ortega stepped up in the postseason with key goals and assists for the YAIAA champion Canners. The first-time All-Area player had 12 goals and seven assists.
--- Joseph Schmitz, sr., Gettysburg: A second-team pick in 2011, Schmitz blossomed into the Player of the Year. The Mid-Penn Colonial Player of the Year posted 19 goals and nine assists for the division champions.
--- Jon Tarbox, jr., Gettysburg: The younger brother of last year's Player of the Year, Zach Tarbox, he earned his second All-Area first-team nod with 11 goals and 12 assists. He added a shootout goal.
--- Trey Thomas, jr., Gettysburg: Another first-time selection, Thomas supplemented his defensive prowess with two goals and two assists.
--- Harley Weigle, sr., Biglerville: A second-team player as a junior, Weigle stepped into a starring role for Biglerville. He led the Canners with 16 goals and added six assists.
--- Devin Wilt, jr., Fairfield: The Hanover area's leading scorer with 24 goals, the three-time All-Area first-team player added nine assists for a Fairfield team which advanced to the second round of the District 3 Class A Tournament.
--- Justin Zinneman, sr., South Western: Zinneman led the Mustangs' offense with 15 goals and he ranked second on the team with eight assists en route to his first All-Area selection.
--- Adam Alton, jr., South Western
--- Mason Little, sr., Gettysburg
--- Gerry Lua, soph., Biglerville
--- Cesar Morales, jr., Biglerville
--- Anders Nordberg, sr., Fairfield
--- David Penarrieta, jr., South Western
--- Oscar SanJuan, sr., Gettysburg
--- Quintin Smith, sr., Fairfield
--- Jonah Waldkoenig, soph., Gettysburg
--- Dan Warner, sr., Fairfield
--- Tyler Weikert, sr., Gettysburg