Hitting the ground running

Shane Smith said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he was transferring from Anderson to a smaller school in Edinburgh.

Once he stepped onto the field during the first practice, however, it didn’t take him long to get acclimated. With an outstanding senior season, the running back earned The Republic’s Edinburgh Football Player of the Year honors.

Smith, who tallied 846 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, chose to focus on the positives even after a disappointing 2-8 season for the Lancers.

“I would not have had the great season I had if it were not the guys up front blocking for me,” said Smith. “We kept on improving as the season went along.”

In addition to playing running back, Smith played on defense. He also plays basketball for the Lancers.

Off the field, Smith describes himself as outgoing, goofy and always about having fun. But when it comes to game day, he is all business on the field.

“I always get myself focused in the right state of mind,” Smith said. “I get into my pregame routine, getting a feel for the playing field and knowing everything that is surrounding me.”

When Edinburgh coach Derrick Ball needed some senior leadership presence on the team, Smith was right man for the job.

“He did a great job guiding our younger guys in the right direction, and everyone on the team looked up to him,” Ball said.

Smith’s leadership showed.

“I was being the mentor and I was always there for my teammates when they needed me the most,” Smith said. “I would bring them up if they make a mistake. I would say something like, ‘Just focus on the next play, and do not let it get to you and bring you down.’”

Ball also said that Smith never refused a tough challenge.

“He embraces it,” Ball said. “He has such a strong work ethic. He brought it to every practice and at every game.”

Ball also mentioned his great attitude on and off the field.

“He has such a positive influence on everyone in the classrooms,” Ball said. “He has got a great personality and gets along with his classmates.”

Despite the rough season the Lancers had, Smith always left it out on the field.

“I considered myself to be a headstrong guy,” Smith said. “I gave it my best in every game and at practice, and hopefully the next group of guys can be even better next year.”