Senior quarterback Trenton Smith helped the Ankeny Centennial football team to a 35-7 victory at No. 4 Waukee Northwest in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs on Friday. He completed 11-of-14 passes for 116 yards and a 30-yard touchdown toss to Braeden Jackson on the team’s opening possession.
For the season, Smith has connected on 116-of-171 passes for 1,509 yards. He is tied for fourth in Class 5A with 19 touchdown passes.
Here is some inside info on Smith:
Congratulations on the win over Northwest. What was the key to reversing the outcome from two weeks ago, when the Wolves posted a 17-7 win on your Senior Night?
Thanks! The key was just continuing the balanced attack. You hear coach (Ryan) Pezzetti preach it all the time–balanced football in Class 5A is the key to success. We had a great week of practice, and our guys were excited when we knew we had another chance at Waukee Northwest.
So you were pretty excited when the playoff pairings were announced?
Everyone was excited. We knew we didn’t play our best football the first time around. We had a great week of practice focusing on the things we felt we missed the first game. Respect to Waukee Northwest though–they are a physical team and very well-coached.
Coach Pezzetti said afterwards that he felt like the team had nothing to lose. Was that the players’ attitude as well?
Yes, that was definitely the attitude and vibe starting at the beginning of the week.
Were the weather conditions a factor at all? Was it hard for you to pass the ball?
We knew it was going to be cold, but at the end of the day this is Iowa high school football and late in the year like this the temperature starts dropping significantly. It was definitely a little bit harder to get a good grip on the football just because when your fingers get cold they kind of lose feeling making it harder to feel the ball on your hand.
Your team’s running backs, Braeden and Elijah Porter, both had a big night. Was the game plan to try to establish the run to set up the pass, or vice versa?
Like I said earlier, the plan was to just play balanced football. BJ and Elijah both are great backs, and the play action/RPO game is something that we love. Defenses have to respect the fact that they can break one at any given moment, and I think that’s what separates us from other teams.
What can you say about the performance of your defense, which held the Wolves to 145 total yards and had three takeaways?
Our defense played great. They contained the quarterback run very well, and it seemed like they had pressure on him all night. They keep getting better every single week and continue to play with violence. I’m super proud of them and how they come to battle every game.
Your team will now play at No. 5 Bettendorf in the quarterfinals on Friday. What do you know about the Bulldogs, who advanced with a 32-21 win over Iowa City High?
I do not know much about Bettendorf. I know they are a very physical, well-coached team with tough kids.
What do you think will be the key to emerging with another victory?
I think the key is just continuing to get our guys the ball in space and letting them do their thing.
Even though your team was seeded 13th, do you feel like this squad is capable of duplicating what Valley did last year, when the Tigers were seeded 13th and made it all the way to the championship game?
I believe we will make a run at a championship this year. In the playoffs everyone’s record goes back to 0-0, and any given team can make a run at it like we saw last year with Valley.
Your team could potentially face No. 1 Southeast Polk or No. 2 Dowling Catholic in the semifinals if you’re able to advance. Your team played both of those squads down to the wire earlier this season, so I’m guessing you’d love to have another shot at one–or possibly–both of them. Which of those two teams would you be more eager to play, and why?
Southeast Polk and Dowling are two great teams. We had good battles with both in the regular season, and I’m sure everyone would be eager to play either one.
I know you’re focused on this season, but are you any closer to making a decision as far as your college plans?
I’m still keeping my options open right now. I’m showing interest to whoever shows interest in me and overall it will come down to the coaches who believe in me and build a strong relationship on a personal level.