REDDING, Calif. - The top ground gainer in the Northern Section of the CIF this year is Shasta High's Vincent Smith.
And the senior back has had to work hard to just become the top rusher on his own team.
Smith is this week's Mega Star Financial Xtra Point Player of the Week on KRCR News Channel 7.
Earlier this season, his teammate Seth Park was pacing the league and division in rushing, earning player of the week honors for the Wolves, who at 8-1 are a win away from their first undefeated league championship season in nearly thirty years.
A healthy competition exists between the two top backs, with Smith surpassing Park in rushing yards, despite missing a single game after suffering a hand injury a month ago.
With 1,415 rushing yards, Smith leads all rushers in all high school divisions in the Northstate heading into the final week of the regular season. Park has 1,344 rushing yards, second in the NSCIF.
Smith rushed 23 times for 265 yards in their win over Pleasant Valley High School last Friday and has rushed for 100 or more yards in each of the eight games he's played this season. The last three games Smith has played with a cast on his injured left hand.
"I didn't even know how much he had gone for," coach J.C. Hunsaker said of Smith's effort against PVHS. "You get into the mind frame of, let's stick with what's working, especially against a quality opponent, and he just went grinding. It was great. It wasn't easy yards either. He was bowling people over, spinning out of tackles. He earned a lot of that himself."
The Wolves offensive line rightfully gets plenty of credit. As a team they are averaging 400 yards rushing per game, tops in the Northstate.
As for Smith, Mr. Inside to Seth Park's Mr. Outside, he usually picks up serious yardage after taking the first hit near the line of scrimmage. Vincent says playing soccer as a youngster likely helped him develop a strong sense of balance once he turned to football.
"I just try to keep balance and keep running," Smith said. "Instead of becoming the nail, become the hammer."
KRCR News Channel 7 features the Mega Star Financial Xtra Point Player of the Week on Thursday nights during the season, airing in the 6:30 p.m. newscasts.
Shasta hosts Foothill Friday night in the regular season finale.