The Smyrna High football season has ended following a tough 24-21 loss at Beech in the second round of the class 6A TSSAA playoffs. But when folks look back at the 2022 campaign, it will likely be summarized by a picture of the furry, four-legged mascot that is their moniker.
A season that saw Smyrna finish proudly with a 9-2 record was filled with highlights. An unblemished record against Rutherford County opponents featured big road wins against Rockvale and Riverdale and a home field-christening triumph over Stewart’s Creek. Road wins at LaVergne, McGavock, and Overton all saw big efforts on offense, defense, and special teams. Head coach Matt Williams earned his 100th win while stalking the Smyrna sidelines. Senior Arion Carter played with an “S” on his chest as his all-around efforts earned him a spot on the class 6A Mr. Football semi-finalist list.
During this eleven-game gridiron gauntlet, Smyrna displayed a common characteristic that carried them to a place purple and gold people can be proud of. When one considers a Bulldog one may wonder how does such a creature flourish? Short-legged and anything but sleek, this canine has to be cantankerous. Plain and simple, a Bulldog has to be tough.
Those who witnessed Smyrna on the football field saw a team that was every sense of a Bulldog. Oftentimes not pretty, this team found a way to win. Three pick-six interceptions at Rockvale rescued a struggling offense when two quarterbacks were lost to injury. The scoop and score by senior Jayden Marable that secured the win at Riverdale giving Matt Williams his historic win capped a great defensive game. The electrifying kick returns and sub in quarterback play of Thomas Jones were about finding a way. Tough running and a “no-slide” mentality by senior quarterback Landon Miller told everyone Smyrna would not go down easily. The tenacity of senior Tucker Moore on defense and special teams featured some rolled-up fur. Of course, there were the slobber-knocking, play-making, de-cleating feats of Arion Carter.
Years from now, when people peruse the decorated history of Smyrna high football, there will be better offensive teams and perhaps better defensive football teams that have suited up in the purple and gold. Will there be a tougher, more resourceful team than this 2022 bunch?... The paw prints tell the story.