Pewamo-Westphalia had a basic game plan when it met defending Division 7 state champion Detroit Loyola in the semifinals Saturday: Jared Smith right. Jared Smith left.
In the second quarter, the Pirates got fancy and added a third play: Jared Smith up the middle.
“Partially through the second quarter we started to realize that they were kind of focusing on the outside and the middle opened right up,” Smith said. “We pounded it right up the middle.”
In all, Pewamo-Westphalia had 21 plays in the first half and Smith carried the ball … 21 times as P-W built a 16-0 lead.
“It was a long first half for me, but it worked well,” Smith said. “I can’t complain.”
Smith never complains, which is how the 6-foot, 205 junior has had the most prolific season for a running back in state history.
In literally carrying P-W to a shockingly one-sided 30-0 rout of Loyola, Smith became the first player in state history to surpass the 3,000-yard rushing mark in a season, and also set a state record with two more touchdowns to bring his season total to 52 rushing scores.
He can add to those totals Saturday when the unbeaten and third-ranked Pirates face unbeaten and No. 2 Ishpeming at 10 a.m. for the state title.
A year ago Smith had a sensational sophomore season, running for 2,140 yards in helping P-W reach the semifinals, where it lost to Loyola.
“I wanted to do better than I did last year,” he said, “but I didn’t have any goals to get to 3,000 yards or even breaking state records or anything like that.”
The key to Smith’s season is his off-season. Any time the P-W coaches had a team activity, like a weight lifting session, over the summer, Smith was there.
And, actually, every team workout Smith attended was his second workout of the day. The thing about his first “workout” is that it lasted eight hours.
Smith was a full-time employee of his father’s building contracting business and spent the summer framing houses — building walls, floors, rafters.
“During the summer I do that and head right from there to lifting,” Smith said. “It’s basically going from a workout to another workout after that.”
That is why Smith didn’t flinch when asked to carry the ball 30 times against Loyola. It was just another day at the office for him.
By the way, when P-W is on defense, Smith is not sitting on the sidelines resting. He is on the field lining up at his defensive end spot.
“I like the challenge,” he said. “You get tired, but I’ve been doing it all year. I’m in pretty good condition for it.”
He is also adaptable.
In preparing for Loyola, the P-W coaches liked the way the Bull Dogs snapped the ball directly to their running back in the wildcat formation. With the forecast for a snowy semifinal day, P-W coaches decided to cut out the middle man — the quarterback — and get the ball right to Smith.
“We just threw that in last week on Tuesday, kind of for something different,” Smith said. “We ended up coming out and running it right from the beginning of the game and it worked really well.”
Getting the ball to Smith any way possible has worked really well for the Pirates, and his record totals are bound to grow against Ishpeming.
“It still hasn’t completely set in that I actually have these records,” he said. “To think that nobody else in the history of the state has done it is kind of a crazy thing.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1 .