When Wellborn coach Jeff Smith thought back on the career of his five-year starting running back, the coach first thought of Goodman’s work ethic.
“It was definitely his work ethic,” Smith said. “The big thing with Chantz was he was here every day. He showed up with a good attitude and worked hard every day. The other kids on the team used to pick on Chantz and ask me why I never said anything to him about hustling more or anything like that. The thing is I didn’t have to.
“That is why he was the player he was. We have never once in five years gotten onto Chantz for lack of effort. Never.”
Goodman, The Anniston Star's Class 1A-2A Calhoun County player of the year, rushed for a team-leading 1,191 yards and 15 touchdowns, sharing touches with two other players. It was a fitting end for quite a career.
“To me, it’s not just this year. I think Chantz is the MVP because of the body of work in five seasons,” Smith said. “He’s rushed for 1,000 yards three seasons in a row. If you look at all of his yardage together in five seasons he’s going to be over 4,000 yards and he’s score over 50 touchdowns.”
Goodman said throughout the last five years he always felt like he could run faster or harder on plays in practice. That mentality led Goodman, one of Wellborn’s five seniors, to take a large leadership role, especially with the offensive line.
There were four new starters on the line, including several players who had never played the position.
“At first, they were terrified. They didn’t know whether they were making a good block or blocking the wrong guy,” Goodman said. “In eighth and ninth grade, that’s how I was. Looking at them and knowing I was that way, too, I could talk to them about it. I told them we were all looking up to them, coach believed in them, that they could do it.”
With the help of Goodman trading a personal experience with the line, along with other leaders adding advice, the offensive line gained confidence and Wellborn had another Wellborn-like season, making it to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. Smith said the leadership from Goodman is just in the tailback’s character.
“Having heart and dedication is what Wellborn means to me,” Goodman said. “Coming in here and giving everything you’ve got.”
Goodman is making a push to play in college. The senior is waiting to get his most recent ACT score back and is hoping interest will pick up after the NCAA dead period for recruiting ends.
“I’ve coached and been around a lot of good football players, and Chantz can play,” Smith said. “All he needs is a chance.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.