No one in the history of the Arlington school district has crossed the goal line as many times as Nick Smith.
The Martin senior scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter of the Warriors’ 76-18 victory against Midland in the 6A Division I bi-district playoffs. That scoring jaunt gave the running back 71 touchdowns in his career, setting a new Arlington school district record.
“It was important, but at the same time, you were looking at it as a team-type thing,” Smith said of the TD record. “I got it, and I was happy about it. But at the same time, I had people that were working to get me there. So I want to thank them, as well.”
As incomparable as Smith’s record-setting rushing prowess has been, a key to Martin’s offensive success is actually that it’s not just one guy who’s counted on to carry the load. Prior to last Friday’s area round matchup against Amarillo in Wichita Falls, Martin had 11 different players score a rushing touchdown, led by 11 TDs from Smith.
“He’s a great player. He’s one of the greatest players to come through Martin,” said senior Mason Perkins, a receiver and electrifying kick/punt returner. “He’s a great player, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also the offensive line blocking, the receivers on the outside blocking and making plays. It’s the quarterback making the right decisions. And it all just comes together as a team.”
As a team, the Warriors, who went 7-0 in District 4-6A play, have rushed for 3,297 yards on an average of nearly eight yards per carry. And that eye-popping production came despite Smith missing three games during the regular season with a right knee injury.
“That’s a credit to our coaches for the game plan and a credit to our O-line for opening up holes,” senior quarterback Eric Walker said. “If it’s open, it doesn’t take an all-star to run through it. But luckily we have a bunch of all-stars who will just find that hole and make extra plays. That combination just allows for a good running attack.”
Those all-star-caliber rushers include Jason Huntley, a senior, who piled up a team-leading 848 yards and 10 TDs on just 59 carries. Meanwhile, sophomore Juma Otoviano has shown signs of becoming Martin’s next star running back. He’s rushed for 616 yards and nine touchdowns. Throw in Smith’s 529 yards and that trio accounted for nearly 2,000 yards and 30 scores.
“The people that were covering for me were great backs,” Smith said. “It was good seeing all of them handle the work when I wasn’t out there. And when I got back, we shared the rock, and we’re doing it great right now.”