By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
As far as local athletes go, he’s pretty much dominated two sports over the past two seasons.
And — as great as he is in athletics — he’s an even better person off the field.
For those reasons and more, Pulaski County’s Aaron Smith is this year’s recipient of The Commonwealth Journal’s Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Smith — a senior at PC — was recently named as The Commonwealth Journal/Clear Channel Radio of Somerset All-County Football Player of the Year thanks to a dominant 2013 season on the gridiron.
However, the spring of ‘13 was just as good for this Maroon standout on the baseball diamond as well.
As a junior back in the spring on Pulaski County’s baseball team, Smith made our All-County Baseball team by hitting .324 on the season, while driving in 36 runs and scoring 36 runs.
He homered twice, had 3 triples and 7 doubles.
On the mound, he was just as effective, logging 63 1/3 innings on the mound for Danny Masten’s club, fanning a total of 75 hitters.
As impressive as all the above numbers are, Smith’s 2013 football season topped even those figures.
In short, Aaron Smith dominated football teams this fall on both sides of the line of scrimmage, helping lead the Maroons to their first ever state championship game appearance and a 14-1 record.
Smith rushed for 932 yards for the season, and led PC with 21 rushing TD’s.
He also caught 30 passes out of the backfield for an additional 479 yards and 8 more touchdowns, leading the Maroons in scoring for the season with 170 points.
He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as well this season, giving him a total of 31 touchdowns for the year and 1,877 all-purpose yards.
On the defensive side of the football, Smith recorded 85 tackles for the year with 8 of those going for a loss.
An excellent student in the classroom and a kid that never taunted another opponent, Smith instead kept his mouth shut, and just went about his business of doing all he could to help his team win.
In today’s ‘Me Society’, he was truly a breath of fresh air and a very deserving winner of our Male Athlete of the Year Award.
“It’s really nice to have everybody see and recognize just how well you did throughout the season,” stated Smith.
“I’m just glad that our team did as well as we did this year, and that’s what you want more than anything else,” added the Pulaski County standout. “It’s really nice to have accolades such as this after the season.”
During Smith’s four-year prep career in football at Pulaski County High School, the Maroons appeared in three regional title games — winning in 2013 — and advancing all the way to this season’s Class 5 A State Championship Football Game.
As a sophomore, Smith was Pulaski County’s starting quarterback, but made the transition to running back over the past two seasons, displaying the kind of athleticism and versatility that all coaches long for.
Smith’s head coach in football over the past four seasons — Johnny Hines — stated recently that players and people like Aaron Smith don’t come around all that often, but when they do, it can make for some very special memories as a coach of such a special athlete and individual.
“It has been a great privilege to coach him,” stated the PC coach. “I’ve know Aaron ever since he was a small kid. I know his parents very well. He comes from a very good family and he’s just a great kid.”
“He’s not only a terrific athlete as a football player and as a baseball player, but he’s a fine young man too,” added coach Hines. “He’s an outstanding student. He’s part of the LINK crew that’s is a senior leadership group at our school, he’s in FCA, National Honors Society and all those types of things. He’s just a tremendous young man.”
With Smith enjoying a monster senior season this season on the gridiron, the Maroons rolled to victories in their first 14 games, making their first trip to the state title game.
In the end, Pulaski County fell short to three-time defending champion Bowling Green in that championship game, but the fact that he was part of a senior class that took the Maroons to the state’s grand stage for the first time in school history is something that Smith says he will never forget.
“It was really nice, especially since it happened during my senior year,” remarked Smith. “It’s something that I will remember even more since it happened in my last season of high school football.”
As for his immediate future, being a two-sport star in high school will mean that Smith will have no shortage of opportunities at the collegiate level to play either football or baseball.
So, which one will he choose to do?
At this point, Smith says that decision hasn’t been made yet, and it might come down to which schools offer him scholarships in each sport.
“I’m not really sure yet,” stated a very candid Smith. “I’m not going to do both in college because that would be a lot. It would probably be football right now, but that might change when baseball gets here. I’ll just have to wait and see how everything works out.”
Smith may be undecided for now as to what his future holds next season in college.
One thing that is crystal clear is this. Aaron Smith is a great athlete, a great person, and an individual that truly deserved to be our Male Athlete of the Year for 2013.