Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Westbrook Christian’s new football coach leaves no doubt as to where his priorities lie.
“First and foremost, I’m a Christian before I’m a football coach, and I don’t mind telling people that and standing strong for Christ,” said Steve Smith. “This opportunity is one that I don’t take lightly. I’ve always had a deep amount of appreciation and respect for what Westbrook Christian stands for.”
The 2022 Warriors stood at 4-1 before a four-game skid extinguished any hopes of a postseason berth.
Smith has his work cut out for him in replenishing the offense, as Westbrook lost its leading passer, receiver, rusher, offensive lineman and kicker to graduation. Key returnees include lineman Doug Brown and receiver Cooper Greer.
Smith brings an impeccable coaching resume to 100 Westminster Drive. In 28 seasons at Cedar Bluff and Piedmont high schools, Smith’s teams went 283-81, including 62-22 in the postseason and 47-8 in region play; earned 16 region titles and won five state championships. The state titles came at Piedmont in 2021, 2019, 2016, 2015 and 2009. The 2022 Bulldogs finished as state runners-up. Smith coached six teams that went undefeated in the regular season – 1997 and 2005 at Cedar Bluff and 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2019 at Piedmont.
Smith, whose Piedmont football team played at Westbrook this past October, views the Warriors on the cusp of sustained success.
“We also played [Westbrook] in middle school and JV, and those games were extremely competitive. They’ve got a lot of talent coming up, and I want to compliment [former football] coach [Drew] Noles and everyone else involved for getting the ball rolling. This program is already on the upward trend. I’m just hoping to contribute my small part to it and see how far we can take it.”
Westbrook shares Class 3A, Region 6 with Hokes Bluff, Glencoe, Piedmont, Geraldine, Plainview, Ohatchee and Sylvania. The Warriors travel to Piedmont in Week 6 as Smith faces the team he coached from 2006 to 2022.