September 23 was a historic night for Smyrna head football coach Matt Williams. The Bulldog coach reached some all-new heights in more ways than one as the Bulldog leader.
Since taking over in 2008, Williams has enjoyed a lot of success as a Dog trainer. Cultivating talent and building young men, Smyrna football has been about doing things the right way under his guidance. Continuing a long tradition of producing good, competitive purple and gold squads, he has been a coaching force in a highly competitive Rutherford county.
Statistics do not always tell the story, but they are a barometer with which to measure. On September 23, Matt Williams reached one of those historical milestones as he earned win number 100 as the head coach at Smyrna. What made the victory perhaps a bit sweeter was it came on the road against county heavyweight and longtime rival Riverdale. The 15-5 head-knocker was one that embodied the Bulldog spirit instilled by their longtime leader.
“This was a chip on our shoulder game for us”, says Williams. “Coming into a hostile environment against a good team will test you and prepare you for playoffs down the road. We showed a lot of toughness and I couldn’t be prouder of this football team.”
The dean of Rutherford County football coaches also reached new heights in another way as well. Leading 8-5 in a rather physical affair, the Bulldog defense stepped up and provided the veteran coach a reason to jump for joy.
Facing third and long with about six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Riverdale quarterback Braden Graham rolled out under heavy pressure from the Dog defensive line. With Bulldog behemoth Jayden Marable hot on his heels, Graham fumbled the football. Seizing the moment, the sizeable Smyrna standout scooped up the ball at the Warrior 27-yard line and pranced to paydirt. This huge scoop and scamper put Smyrna up two scores and would be the only points of the second half.
Here is where the all-new heights were reached again. As his prized pupil crossed the goal line, Williams may have set the new Smyrna high jump record as he leapt like Michael Jordan. The spontaneous change in stratospheric conditions for Williams happened to be one of those special moments that makes high school football great.
“People might not believe this but I used to be able to jump higher than that”, smiles Williams. “As a former lineman myself I understand how special it is for an opportunity like that to be presented and Jayden did a great job making the most of it.”
The still unbeaten Bulldogs (5-0) will host Cane Ridge on September 30.