By: Erin Onderko
For the Yellow Jacket
Sometimes, plans change.
This is exactly what happened to sophomore running back Justin Flack.
“I originally committed to Mt. Union. It was a tough decision, I was really back and forth between Mt. Union and Waynesburg,” Flack said. “I went to Mt. Union for about a week, but something just told me I should go back to Waynesburg, so I made the call to come back here and I am glad I made that decision.”
Flack played football from the time he was five years old. He had an impressive high school career, winning over thirty games during his four years and making the WPIAL championship game his senior year. Flack said he greatly enjoyed his time in high school.
During his time on campus, the team has been nothing but welcoming to Flack.
“Ever since my first day I stepped on campus, the guys have been welcoming. It’s been great working with Coach Smithley and the coaching staff,” Flack said. “We’re not where we want to be as a football team right now, but we know we have a lot to work on, so I’m excited to see where we can take this.”
While not playing football this fall for the first time since he was young is strange for Flack, he appreciates the postponement of the season to keep everyone safe.
Coach Smithley had high praise for Flack as well.
“Justin is a guy who, when he puts his mind to something, there is nothing that gets in his way except his own mind,” Smithley said. “When there are times he has setbacks, it’s because he got in his own way mentally.”
Smithley went on to explain that while this can sometimes present problems for Flack, he has also seen the running back make huge improvements during his first year with the team.
“I think it’s a good thing, because Justin wants to be the best running back there is,” Smithley said. “He wants to be the best running back in the conference, he wants to be the best running back to ever play at Waynesburg.”
Smithley is incredibly proud of the progress Flack has made, both on and off the field.
“Not only on the field, but the growth Justin has had in the classroom, and the efforts he has put into not just being a great running back for Waynesburg but a great student here too… he’s an impressive individual for a nineteen year old,” Smithley said. “Justin has grown in one year as much as some guys do in four, which is why I say the sky’s the limit for him.”
He went on to explain that the coaching staff spends a lot of time talking to Flack about being a good leader on the team, and how he is raising the work ethic level of his teammates.
While this season is not what anyone expected, both Smithley and Flack are very excited to see what the spring holds for their team.
“We’re really excited about this group,” Smithley said. “We brought in a great class last year that we are excited about and we are excited to get on the field with those guys and to see their abilities. There’s obviously always growth to be had with freshmen but also upperclassmen. We’ve got a lot of really good things that can propel us and get us to where we want to be in this conference. We’re all really excited.”