Wildcats’ Nose Tackle Teddy Smith shines

DUNCAN FALLS, Ohio — On a cold, dark Saturday night, Waterford star Teddy Smith shone brightly on the Sam Hatfield Stadium gridiron.

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior noseguard simply could not be blocked as the Wildcats (11-1) blanked Trimble, 22-0, in an Ohio Division VII, Region 27 football semifinal. (The green and white are scheduled to play Harvest Prep next in a regional final, TBA.)

“I had a pretty good game,” smiled Smith, who finished the playoff tilt with 10 tackles (seven solo, three assisted) and one sack.

While Smith is far from the biggest player on Waterford’s defensive line, he’s the most elusive with his speed. and quickness.

“Teddy is everywhere,” said first-year WHS head coach Eric McCutcheon. “He’s just the center of the defense.

“He’s having a great year for us. He really is. Our whole defense is.”

Waterford’s D limited Trimble (9-3) to 90 total yards and just five first downs. The Wildcat ballhawks in the secondary also intercepted three passes, and the team had one fumble recovery.

“We’ve got this new coach named Jeff Welch, and he’s great,” Smith said. “He knows what to do and everything. He puts us in different formations. We have amazing athletes on this team who know how to make plays.”

Most of the time, Smith will line up opposite the offensive center. But occasionally, he’ll switch over to a defensive end or even a linebacker position.

“Tackles are usually bigger and it lets me work on the slow kids, maybe spin on them to get to the quarterback easier,” Smith said. “They try to put me on their worst lineman, you can say, and just let me go at them.”

And, go at the Tomcats, he did — for the entire game.

“His motor was still going 100 miles an hour in the fourth quarter,” said McCutcheon, laughing. “Got another sack.”

Probably part of the reason Smith still had so much energy in the final period was because he only played on one side of the ball.

“We took him off offense to keep him fresh for D,” McCutcheon said, “and it’s paying off for us.”

And, on punts, no one on the Wildcat special teams hustles more and covers the kick as well as Smith. During one boot in the fourth, he got down there so fast that Trimble returnee Kameron Curry really didn’t know what hit him.

“I’ve always done that all year (on punts),” Smith said,  “stay there for a couple seconds and don’t let them block the punt. And, then it’s full force down the field. I’m usually one of the first people down there to get him, wrap him up and take him down.”

After Smith tackled Curry on that punt, the Trimble player kind of “mouthed off” a little bit.

“He’s been upset all game,” said Smith, laughing. “He just doesn’t know how to control his emotions.

“You name it, and he said it. He punched us, kicked us, pushed us, anything on the ground after we tackled him. Just not a very nice dude. He doesn’t know respect or anything.”

McCutcheon grinned.

“We had 3 (Curry) frustrated for sure,” the Waterford boss said. “We knew we could get under his skin a little bit — and we hit him hard.”

And, yes, helping to spearhead that hard hitting was Smith.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com