What goes up must come down — and for Alex Smith he just hopes he has the ball and some positive yardage.
Smith, a 5-foot-10 junior receiver for the South Walton Seahawks, has managed to grab the ball 34 times for 476 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
One of his biggest catches came last Friday night in the Seahawks 55-40 win over the Holmes County Blue Devils.
"I was between three defenders," Smith said. Flying high in reckless abandon, Smith managed to snag the ball for a gain of 67 yards and the touchdown.
"I don't know how it happened," Smith said shaking his head and out of breath on the sideline after making the catch. "It just sort of happened."
Smith, the 16-year-old son of Robert and Cecilia Smith of Panama City Beach, had eight catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Holmes.
"I just concentrate on the ball," Smith said.
Smith said another memorable catch for him was in the game against Chipley. The game was tied at 38-38 and Smith made a diving catch under heavy coverage in the end zone for the go ahead win. The kick after was good and South Walton captured the district victory 45-38.
Smith's skills on the playing field haven't gone unnoticed.
“Alex is a lot like Wes Welker,” said South Walton Coach Phil Tisa. “He can run all the routes and make all the catches. He is always a team player.”
And team is very important to the 155-pound junior who sports the No. 4.
“I like being out there with the guys,” Smith said. “We look out for each other. I think you make your closest friends on the football team. We train together; play together … everything we do is together.”
Football is nothing new to Smith. As a fifth grader Smith played left guard and defensive end in the South Walton rec league. He later played quarterback for the Emerald Coast Middle School Stingrays as a seventh grader.
His freshman year at South Walton High he moved into the quarterback slot, following in the footsteps of his brother Dennis Smith, who graduated in 2010.
But when Jonathon Ortner moved into the area, Smith was moved to receiver.
"I actually like the idea of being a receiver," Smith said. "When Dennis played quarterback, he kind of trained me to be a receiver," he said, noting they would throw the football almost every evening.
"I feel like I'm more helpful as a receiver than a quarterback," Smith added. "Ortner is a great quarterback."
Smith doesn't mind flying high in the air to make the grab and doesn't worry about getting hit on the way up.
"If you get hit before … you get 15 yards anyway in penalties, so I might as well try to catch it," he said. "As long as we're moving the ball…”
This season has been a turnaround for the Seahawks, going from a 1-9 record last year to sitting on a 5-2 record thus far with a chance to make the playoffs.
Although things are looking up, "Coach says we haven't achieved anything yet. But we will if we beat Freeport and get into the playoffs," Smith said. "I think we're on a good path to do something this year,"