Penn Hills’ Smith enters all-star game with chip on shoulder

Friday, April 27, 2018 | 12:54 AM

Spring is here, which means the end of senior athletes' high school careers.

Unless an unexpected email during homeroom changes that. Penn Hills running back Tim Smith did, and now he gets to play high school football one more time.

Smith, who is a Fairmont State recruit, received late word he was invited to play in the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association All-Star East/West game at 2 p.m. May 6 at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona.

“It feels like all this work I've been putting in is just not going away,” Smith said. “It feels like all the work I've been doing is going to something with a purpose, and I'm going to show everybody why I should've been in the game in the first place.”

Smith, 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, was part of a three-headed rushing attack for the Indians. He shared carries with junior Terry Smith and senior Jaquay Sears and finished with 499 yards rushing. Tim Smith was a PA Big 56 honorable mention selection in his senior season.

Smith, who will major in physical therapy, feels honored to represent his high school football team and community.

“I want to show off the Penn Hills community out there in Altoona for the game,” Smith said. “I feel like this is a good opportunity for me to show off and to further my skills for college down at Fairmont. This goes to show me what kind of competition I'm up against.”

Smith, who had an offer from Clarion, is excited to run alongside players from other schools who make up the West team.

Last season, Tyler Blue represented Penn Hills at the all-star game.

The players will have limited time to get to know each other as they only have three practices prior to the all-star game.

“I want to make sure we become close as teammates and make sure we all are having fun in the game. We want to go out there and have the same mindset to get the ‘W,' ” Smith said. “I don't want anybody to underestimate me going into this game.”

After being part of one of the best seasons for Penn Hills football in recent years, Smith immediately turned to preparing himself for college by getting involved in a weight and fitness program set forth by Fairmont State.

“I think I've progressed a lot both mentally and physically,” Smith said.

During the recruitment process, Smith loved the idea of getting on the field early at Fairmont State and has used it as motivation to prepare himself for next season.

“I'm coming into Fairmont trying to take somebody's spot,” he said. “I feel like I'm going to be starting or second string next season.”

The Indians (8-4, 3-3) made their deepest playoff run since 2008 by reaching the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals. Penn Hills' season ended with a 17-8 loss to Central Catholic on Nov. 10 at Fox Chapel.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.


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