TOP OF HIS GAME: Eric Schmid leads Sam Houston to National Championship Behind Gutsy Performance
Before Same Houston took the field for its first FCS playoff game in the spring, Oak Ridge head coach Mark Schmid had a gut feeling something special was going to happen.
His son Eric had helped lead The Woodlands High School to the 2016 Class 6A Division I State Championship game against Lake Travis. Mark was then the head coach of the Highlanders.
Now, it was time for Eric to lead Sam Houston.
"Eric played his best football of his career once we got to the playoffs and I'm thinking that's probably what's going to happen now," Mark told VYPE prior to the playoff run.
In the playoffs, Eric led Sam Houston past No. 10 Monmouth (21-15), No. 6 North Dakota State (24-20), No. 1 James Madison (38- 35) and finally No. 2 South Dakota State (23-21) to win the 2020 FCS National Championship.
He finished the season 194 of 325 for 2,808 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions while rushing for another 436 yards and eight scores.
VYPE caught up with Eric at Bowers Stadium in June to talk about the championship and more.
VYPE: Your mom and dad were at the title game. What were the moments like with them after the win?
SCHMID: My mom reached down for me and my dad was real excited. He couldn't stop smiling. My mom said he was on pins and needles the whole game. She said he was about to throw up and all that stuff. So, he was excited. It was really cool to see him proud like that.
VYPE: In the National Championship game, you were taking a beating physically. What was that like?
SCHMID: I've never been beat up like that, honestly. My shoulder was messed up, my ankle is still hurting six weeks later. So, it was good to get out of that game but I wouldn't change anything. We had one goal and that's what we were going for.
VYPE: You all had a parade in Huntsville this summer to celebrate the championship. What was that like?
SCHMID: It's something that you dream of but you don't really think about the parades and stuff. I was thinking about the game. It was pretty cool all the things that came with it that you didn't expect because everything has been so special since then. Any chance we get to celebrate, we always do.
VYPE: Any pressure being the National Champs?
SCHMID: There's more pressure because of the expectations, especially when you are bringing back the same team. But I feel so much better going into this season than past seasons because the past ones were disappointments of not making the playoffs. It's a lot better coming off a National Championship. I'd rather have a target on our back than not one.
VYPE: You were on the cover of VYPE in high school. What does it mean to you to be back on it?
SCHMID: It's cool to go full circle. Any time I can do something that was really important to me back in the day and getting back around people that I'm comfortable with I'm going to do it. I really like VYPE and everything they do.