Running on credit

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Florala senior running back Desmond Smiley earned The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors for his performance against Georgiana last week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Credit is given where credit is due.

That was exactly the case for Florala senior running back Desmond Smiley.

Smiley rushed for 203 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 49-33 victory over Georgiana last week.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound senior ran well enough to earn The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

Smiley said his success last week against the Panthers was due to the front seven.

“All the credit goes to my offensive line,” he said. “They opened up the holes for me.”

Additionally, FHS quarterback Austin McNeill made great “reads” during the game, Smiley said.

“(McNeill) wasn’t being selfish,” Smiley said. “He was being a team player.”

One of his scores came on a 48-yard rush in the first quarter, Smiley said.

This is Smiley’s second year playing varsity football. He is a Paxton, Fla., native.

Football is his chosen sport, but he also plays basketball and participates on the track and field team at FHS.

Smiley said he loves the game because it has “everything” in a sport.

“I love hitting and lifting weights,” he said. “I like to spend time with my teammates and getting close to my coaches.”

FHS head football coach Justin Jones said Smiley’s performance came at a good time in the running back’s season.

“He was probably 100 percent healthy,” Jones said about Smiley. “He had been banged up the last two weeks and has played some with injuries.

“He was ready to go,” he said. “It always helps when a kid feels good.”

Jones also credited the offensive line for doing a good job.

“We had 496 yards of total offense,” he said. “Our quarterback was unselfish. Austin did a good job of making the right reads.”

On Friday night, the Wildcats host Fruitdale in their sesaon closer at Mathews Stadium. FHS is not playing in the post season.

Smiley said the team wants to end the season on a good note.

“We’re hoping to accomplish a win,” he said.

Smiley also plays at linebacker on defense for the Wildcats.

He is the grandson of Dialinda Thomas.