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December 24, 2013
1A POY - Trenton's Stephen Smith
All he does is win.
His season statistics don't jump out at you, but his record as starting quarterback for the Class 1A state champion Trenton Tigers does.
Stephen Smith threw for 1,003 yards and ran for 631 yards this season. He accounted for 19 touchdowns.
Those certainly aren't great numbers, but his 42 wins in four years as QB are. He led the Tigers to a record of 12-1 this season, including 11 wins in a row to end the year, and he finished his prep career with a 21-game home winning streak.
"I wish I had another year with him," said Trenton coach Andrew Thomas, who noted that Smith only missed one game in this three seasons as coach (concussion). "He's cool down the stretch, and able to not panic and make things happen. He's been like that throughout his career."
His performance this season could qualify him for the Florida Dairy Farmer's Mr. Football award, which will be given to the best football player in the state after the eight classification winners are announced.
Motivated by a loss in last year's state football final, and knowing that his opponent in this year's title game had posted eight shutouts going in, Smith was even more determined to lead his team to victory against Blountstown in December's finale.
"I think we took it as a challenge (to not get shutout)," said Smith, who threw for a season-high 110 yards against the Tigers. "They (coaches) drilled Blountstown into our mind."
The 14-0 win gave the Tigers their first state football title in school history and the first for the Gainesville-area in 16 years.
While the Player-of-the-Year hopeful likely won't win the award for the state's overall best, he still has a chance to earn more hardware. The Tigers are hoping to repeat in baseball, and if they make it to the final game, Smith is well-equipped to handle the pressure.
"He thrives on it," said Thomas. "He wants the ball in his hands."
Smith, who will be playing baseball at VMI, cherishes both state titles, but there is one that seemed more significant to him.
"I think football meant more, because in our town football is the sport," he said. "Everyone looks forward to Friday night. It's football night Friday. But baseball is still sweet just because it was the first state championship for Trenton High School in any sport."
Either way, he is a winner.