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Brown Deer's Smith earns spot on squad

Brown Deer coach has no regrets despite injuries, losses

Nov. 23, 2010

Brown Deer football coach Rob Green is not going to get caught up in a game of "What if?"

Like what if talented quarterback Brett Youngbeck didn't go down with a knee injury in the sixth game, and what if two-time NOW All-Suburban running back Chris Smith didn't go down with an ankle problem a contest later?

Green won't do it because although neither would ever return to the lineup, 2010 still resulted in an 8-2 overall record, a Woodland Conference divisional crown and a heck of a legacy for all those linemen who blocked Smith to an incredible 21 touchdowns in just 6 1/2 games.

"We're extremely happy with the football program and its accomplishments at this point," Green said. "We reached a lot of our goals. The seniors took charge and kept us on the path to win the Woodland despite all the obstacles that were in our way."

"We wanted to go through the season undefeated and that was one of our goals, but on those two nights we fell short (New Berlin West and Milwaukee Lutheran), we were out-executed and that happens sometimes."

And that's where the game of "What if?" comes to a head, because Smith, despite the injury, was an easy All-Suburban and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-District choice this year, as he was someone who proved that size (5-6, 187) is not everything.

When healthy, no one was able to get a clean hit on him.

He hid behind big linemen like Drew Jones and Tory Dibb, waited until they were set up and then slipped out from behind them, untouched, casting a spell on the frustrated defenders like a football wizard, as he always seemed to be just out of their grasp.

"Chris' really special talent was that he always made his offensive linemen better," Green said. "He would move one direction and then slow up and allow his blockers to get there and then he'd slip out in the open field from right behind them again."

"It takes a special kind of patience to do that and most running backs don't have that kind of patience. He knows he needs help to get to where he wants to go (the end zone). He could pop one at any time, and the other 10 guys knew it too, so they knew that when he had the ball, they should block to the whistle, because something good could happen at any time."

And usually did.

Green acknowledged that Smith also knew that he had a veteran, senior-dominated line in front of him leading the way. WFCA All-District defensive end and linebacker Jones was the best of the lot (all-divisional lineman of the year) from one tackle position while Dibb, Kierre Ogbonna, Jordan Thompson, Drew Worth, Brad Dziadosz, Logan Feciskonin, B.J. McAfee and others all played key roles.

"(Line) coach (T.J.) Yankee did a great job with those kids," Green said, "because by the time they got to this year, they became a pretty polished unit." Enough so that the Falcons averaged 44-plus points a game, including a crazy effort of 71 against Whitnall.

They would have scored even more if Youngbeck and Smith had been healthy.

"It was really too bad," Green said, "because Chris is such a great person. He wanted to play (from that first time the injury happened) but the stability in the ankle just wasn't there." Green said that many Division 2 colleges in the Midwest are still looking at him despite the setback.

"Wherever he chooses to further his education, they're getting a pretty special ballplayer," Green said. "He can play anyplace he wants to."

The Falcons will lose 17 seniors, a pretty hefty chunk for a program with 68 players out total. The freshmen team went 3-5 while the varsity reserve unit was 5-4.

"We'll totally have to rebuild the line, but we have a good distribution of kids throughout the classes," Green said, "so it'll be a really good challenge for us."

A championship season

Injuries don't mar Falcons' efforts

Chris Smith's selection to All-Suburban team is school's 20th all-time

Select company: Smith is a two-time All-Suburban choice at running back. The only other Brown Deer running back to earn that honor was three-time selection Andrae Reneau (1993-95). The only other multi-time selection for the Falcons was wide receiver/all-purpose player Tony Aker (2003-04).

2010 Brown Deer seniors: Joiziah Mallett, B.J. McAfee, Dominique Richie, Smith, Brett Youngbeck, Brian Michalica, Sean Andryauskus, Scott Richardson, Kierre Ogbonna, Drew Jones, Jordan Thompson, Brad Dziadosz, Dan Becker, Nick Perez, Logan Feciskonin, Alex Williams and Tory Dibb.

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