How did Smith help Furness, down by 17-6 at halftime, claim a 24-17 division victory over Jules Mastbaum Tech?
Turned 23 carries into 102 yards and a touchdown. Completed four passes for 79 yards and two more scores. Recovered a first-quarter fumble. Made a fourth-quarter interception. And forced a fumble, thanks to a powerful hit on a receiver, with 1 minute, 35 seconds remaining (recovery to Tyriek Gilliard), that enabled the Falcons to clinch the win.
When asked which moment he liked the best, Smith said, "A lot of them."
He smiled and added, "I said that another time you interviewed me, too. Remember?"
Smith and media attention go 'way back. This is his fourth season of filling a prominent role. Not that it phases him.
"Doesn't seem like that long ago," he said. "Like yesterday, really. The time flew by. I went through some growing pains along the way. But I'm glad I chose the school I did."
Like many of Furness' prominent players, Smith attends Palumbo. Those two and Franklin Learning Center form a combo squad. When Smith made his debut, the Falcons were merely a second-year varsity program. So, what does he remember?
"That first one was right on this field," he said. "We beat Fels, and I had 25 carries for 130 yards. To have a 100-yard game in my first game as a freshman, that was pretty cool."
Smith also remembered dropping 240 yards on Prep Charter later that season. But now, the numbers might as well be hieroglyphics.
"I can't remember any [recent stuff]," Smith said. "I'm not too impressed with stats anymore. We have a young team, and the coaches are doing a great job of bringing us along, and all I want to do is help us do as great as we possibly can."
Plus, the number that's now the most important in Sharif Smith's life has nothing to do with yards gained.
Schools such as Rutgers, Wisconsin, Villanova, VMI and Stony Brook are showing interest, and all will depend on his SAT score; classroom grades are no problem.
"Once I get the score, a lot more schools will come rumbling in," Smith said. "It makes for pressure, knowing so much is tied into that, but I understand it. It's like anything else. If you want good results, you have to put in the work. Coach Pastore and his whole staff are pushing me along, giving me the necessary support."
Smith's career rushing totals show 630 carries for 3,664 yards and 43 TDs. He has also passed 25-for-72 for 648 yards and nine scores, while adding 11 catches for 101 yards (no TDs). Yesterday's interception was his 12th.
The first half was not highlight-reel material. Though Smith did whip a 17-yard TD pass to Malakiah "Max" Hunter on a trick play, he also was dumped twice for safeties (by Patrick Knight, then Kamau Taylor).
"It's still a learning process, being an actual quarterback," he said. "Like, how you have to step up in the pocket and still keep your eyes downfield, and still keep that little clock in your head going, too.
"I'd prefer just playing running back, because that's where I've made my mark, but I understand why I'm playing some quarterback, too. That's what's needed for the team."
Said Pastore: "If we put Sharif at just running back, defenses put nine to 10 guys in the box. We can't block like we did last year. We did change our o-line 2 weeks ago, though, and we are getting better at it."
The final quarter was nuts. On its final five possessions, Mastbaum suffered a blocked punt and then four turnovers. Kyle Goldsmith had the block, recoveries went to Goldsmith and Gilliard, and interceptions went to Smith and Xavier Swift (pass batted to him by Gilliard).
All Swift did was race 86 yards for the TD that expanded an 18-17 lead! (In between, with Smith nursing a dinged tailbone after his interception, the Falcons had lost a fumble on their 8 - recovery to Davidson Okrafo-Smart).
Furness' fourth-quarters were posted by Dante Barkley (28-yard pass from Smith), Smith (4-yard run) and Swift.
Mastbaum's TDs, notched 2:20 apart in the second quarter, were posted by quarterback Joseph Walker on a 1-yard sneak and by tiny wideout Terrence Davis (5-6, 130) on a marvelous, 72-yard, catch-and-run from Walker. Davis made the snag at Furness' 37, avoided two would-be tacklers right away, then stepped back a yard or two to evade a third before sprinting to the left corner.
Smith, who lives on 24th Street near Dickinson, is mostly being eyed as a cornerback for college.
"That's off last year's film," Pastore said. "I still see him as a running back, though. It's just that here we need him to do so many different things."
Like getting hooked to the front of the train.