June 16, 2017 - National Arena League (NAL) - Lehigh Valley Steelhawks
Allentown, PA : The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (9-1) have had many successes in their seven years of existence. Six straight playoff appearances, a 2014 Northern Conference Title, and most recently clinching the franchise's first home playoff game. It is no secret why the Steelhawks are having the best year in team history...Their leader under Center.
Quarterback Warren Smith Jr is having a career year. As the leader of the league's Number 1 scoring offensive unit, Smith Jr. in just ten games as thrown for 56 touchdown passes and ran for five more averaging over Six touchdowns per game on the season (61 total touchdowns). The closest player to him has accumulated a total of 43 scores. He has amassed 2,037 yards of total offense (1,945 passing, 92 rushing). To put that into perspective against other top performers in the league, Smith Jr. has over 500 yards of total offense more than the next closest player. He leads the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense, completion percentage (66.3%), passing efficiency (109.3), passing completions, and rushing yards by a Quarterback (4th in total league rushing).
The Steelhawks signal caller is no stranger to being a top performer in the league. He has won the National Arena League's Player of the Week four ties this season, and in 2014 was named the PIFL's League MVP. But his Head Coach Chris Thompson thinks that he is having an even better season then in 2014 where he was an opponent of the Steelhawks.
"Warren has had an outstanding NAL season for us and has been consistent for us all season long. This is my 6th season here and 4th league we have competed in, and no prior Steelhawk QB has been able to do what he has for us this season, and that is saying a lot with some of the great ones that have played here over the years. He has completed more the 65% of his passes, and accounted for over 60 touchdowns in only 10 games. I have coached against him over the years and I can't remember a season that he has had like this, even when he won League MVP honors a couple years back. There is no doubt in my mind he should win the NAL MVP honors hands down."
The Steelhawks have had some quality players on their teams in the past. Many of which have one league awards, like Special Teams, Offense, and Defensive Player of the Year honors, but have never had the league's MVP. Steelhawks General Manager Mike Clark thinks that may change this year.
"Warren brings an intangible to our team that should always by synonymous with those words MOST VALUABLE Player, and that is leadership. He demands greatness from his teammates and comes in with a worker's mentality each and every practice and game. He elevates the play of the guys around him, and gets his teammates to buy in. If you ask any guy on this team that has been here more than a season and they will tell you the difference in this year's squad is the guy under center. I am extremely proud of Warren and his accomplishments this season, and I know we have a chance to win every game when he is out there. He is so humble in his approach that if you asked him right now what an MVP would mean to him, he'd say that he'd rather have a Championship. If that isn't a leader and an MVP I don't know what else is."
Next up for Smith Jr. and the Steelhawks is their first-round playoff contest against the Columbus Lions on Friday, June 23rd at 7:30 pm on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center. It is the Steelhawks first ever home playoff contest in team history.
Tickets for the Steelhawks first ever Home Playoff Game are now on sale and can be purchased through the PPL Center box office, at pplcenter.com, or by calling the Steelhawks office (610-282-3100). Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks. For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at www.LVSteelhawks.com for the latest Steelhawks news. Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100. The Steelhawks play all of their home games on Embassy Bank Field inside the PPL Center.