By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.–Zach Smith has been carrying the load for the Dayton High School Football rushing attack with Nate Arce on the mend from an hamstring injury suffered early on in the season. Going into their playoff game against Coquille on Friday, Smith has recorded 1,199 yards on the season. Cracking the 1K mark on the ground against Jefferson on October 21.
But it’s just all apart of the job he’s doing for the seniors said the junior in Smith.
“A thousand yards, I didn’t think I’d do it, but it was great. I just can’t wait to finish out the season with Nate and all of the seniors,” Smith said of the accomplishment.
For Arce, who’s closing in on a thousand yards himself at a shade below 700 yards on the season, it feels good just to be back healthy after first sustaining the injury Week 2. The senior back, one of the bruisers as Smith puts it about their running back corps, tried playing on it a week later, but couldn’t do much on it that the squad had the senior back rest up to make sure he was good for this point of the season.
His first game back, against Amity, Arce went off for 281 yards and is feeling good going into Friday’s contest.
“It feels good. I’m just ready to push hard and see how far we can go in the playoffs and make a finals push my senior year,” Arce said. “It’s hard watching from the sidelines while everyone else plays and you can’t do anything about it.”
All together, mix in some yardage from Tristan McGann and quarterback Boston Hodges to name a few with Arce and Smith, the Pirates offense has rushed for 2,864 yards. Healthy now too, it’ll challenge teams to shutdown more than one option on a team that is running behind a good offensive line led by Ethan Hedgecock. Playing behind knowing it could be their last game, playing for each other, playing for the seniors especially as kick-off is schedule for 7pm on Friday night in Dayton.
“Come out like it’s any other game and play our hardest like it’s our last,” Arce said. “If our line blocks like we know they can, I don’t think there’s anyone that can stop our running game.”
“I’m doing it for the seniors,” adds Smith. “That’s all I got to say, it could be our last game and I don’t want that to happen. It’s all up to our line, yeah we’re all good running backs, but it’s all up to our line and Ethan leading our line.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald