WDBJ7 Sports Reporter
7:37 PM EDT, October 5, 2012
Our latest player of the week got the Liberty Minutemen off to a fast start last week in Rustburg, setting a torrid pace with his fleet feet and spoiling the Red Devils' homecoming festivities in the process.
While Smith might be a common name, his performance last Friday night, was as uncommon as they come.
Liberty tailback, Matt Smith put up monster numbers in the Minutemen's 50-21 win over Rustburg.
"I try my best every game to get a high number of rushing yards and just that game it was just there so I just kept doing what I'm doing and just kept running,” Smith said.
The sophomore ran for more than 330 yards out of Liberty's option offense, and scored four touchdowns in that game. Three of those TDs came right out of the gates in the opening quarter.
"I wasn't really expecting that. I mean, we're expecting to have a good run game. I wasn't expecting 3 touchdowns in the first quarter. I really wasn't,” Smith said.
Chris Watts, Liberty’s head coach said, "We had a game plan to go against Rustburg but we didn't really envision it turning out the way it did. They've got a good football team down there and we were able to take advantage of a few things and get the ball to Matt too in a lot of cases. Yardage-wise that's his best game but he's had 2 kick-off returns for a touchdown also this year."
And the result of having such a break-out performance?
"Well it's going to put a lot more pressure on him in that people are going to pay a lot more attention to what he's doing, which was the case already,” Watts said.
Smith said, "It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I have all these people that depend on me."
People have been depending on Matt on the football field, since he first started playing the game about 10 years ago, starting turning heads at a young age.
"When Matt was probably in his last year of rec league, people were coming up and saying ‘hey you gotta watch this guy run and he's going to be playing for you here someday.’ And all of a sudden he is here with me,” Watts said.
Smith said, "I was introduced to football when I was about like 5, 4. Just ever since then I've grown to love the sport.
And what would a stand-out player be without a mentor?
"Coach Watts, he's been looking after me ever since I was in the younger leagues and he is basically one of my role models and he teaches me how to operate as a young male and just helps me with my sports and everything I need to do grade-wise, everything,” Smith said.
And as Matt continues to improve, so does his team. The Minutemen moved to 4 and one with the win over Rustburg, already a dramatic improvement over last year's final mark of 1 and 9.
"He's a good kid. He is. Growing up he's done really well in football all along so he's used to having some attention for that and now for him, it's just a learning process of becoming a complete football player,” Watts said.
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