West Oktibbeha offense piling up the yards
Just a few years ago, West Oktibbeha quarterback Von Smith was just a kid with a dream.
"When I watched football, I always knew I wanted to be the one to throw the passes," said Smith.
So begins the story of a Timberwolves offense that is currently making noise that can be heard around the nation.
Smith, just a sophomore, and his primary receiving target, junior Dwight Quinn, are piling up numbers that are usually found in football video games, not on the actual stat line of high school players.
According to Maxpreps.com, Smith's 1,756 passing yards are seventh-most in the nation. His 21 touchdown passes tie for fifth in the country.
Quinn's credentials are just as impressive. Smith's go-to wideout currently sits in a tie for 20th in the nation with eight touchdown receptions. Quinn's yards per reception average of 28.35 is the country's fourth-best total.
Amongst Mississippians, Smith and Quinn's totals rise further to the top.
Smith leads the state in total passing yards, throwing for nearly 400 more yards than his closest competition. The sophomore's touchdown total is also the Magnolia State's best.
Quinn leads Mississippi in both total receiving yards (652) and touchdowns.
In the grand scheme of it all, West Oktibbeha's most dynamic duo has lifted the Class A Timberwolves to the top of their region with a perfect 4-0 mark. The T-Wolves currently sit at 5-1 overall, with the lone setback coming at the hands of undefeated Class 2A East Webster.
The numbers are there, the record is there, and it all starts when the ball is snapped into Smith's hands.
"What Von has done is at this point astronomical," said West Oktibbeha head coach Adam Lowrey. "It's amazing how he runs this offense. When I teach him stuff, I don't have to tell him but once or twice and it just clicks. His reads are so quick and his throws are so accurate. He just knows things and says things that you don't hear from a high school quarterback. Let alone, a 10th grader."
While reaching such levels of success at such an early age, one thing Lowrey appreciates is Smith's humility. It's a quality that Lowrey says he'll do whatever it takes to preserve.
"I'm so hard on Von, he doesn't have a chance to be a prima-donna," said Lowrey. "I stay on him. I demand he be the first one to practice and the last one to leave. I will make him clean and sweep the floor just to keep him humble."
Lowrey's tactics are paying off.
"I'm the type of person that I'm not going to get the big head," said Smith. "I look at my stats and I tell myself and I tell the team that we're still going to do better and work harder. It's sometimes hard to stay level-headed because I have so many people praising me, but it's the type of situation where I don't want everybody praising me, I want everybody praising the Lord."
In spite of his efforts to shun attention, Smith isn't oblivious. He knows his performances have him climbing up the rankings on both national and state levels. For that, he attributes his success to those around him.
"Most of my success comes from my lineman giving me the time to throw to my receivers, and my receivers having the talent to catch the ball," said Smith.
The receiver who hauls in most of Smith's passes is Quinn, an athletic speedster who shares many of the same qualities as his quarterback.
"To be honest, I never ask about my stats," said Quinn. "Coach Lowrey asks me why I don't wonder about my stats, and I told him because I just play the game as it goes."
Lowrey knows how special it is to have a receiver that isn't concerned about his numbers.
"(Quinn) knows there is not another receiver like him in Class A, and last week he only had three catches," said Lowrey. "The week before that, he only had two catches, but it doesn't bother him. Still he's had over 120 yards receiving each time. I'm just blessed to be working with kids like Dwight."
Undoubtedly bringing a smile to Lowrey's face is the fact that he'll have another year with Quinn. He'll have two more years with Smith. As the combo of the two have more time together, there seems to be no limit to the success they could attain.
"Me and Von, we just have a great relationship," said Quinn. "We talk about everything in practice, and come game time, we just have that connection."
It's a friendship that has already fostered incredible results that no one is taking for granted.
"I tell my kids, just let your greatness shine so bright that when you walk into a room, you compel others to automatically be great," said Lowrey. "With that, everything we achieve, all of us give the Lord all the glory."