Smith goes prime-time in O'Hara win

Thaddius Smith scored five touchdowns in victory over Archbishop Carroll.
Thaddius Smith scored five touchdowns in victory over Archbishop Carroll.
Posted: September 24, 2012

THADDIUS SMITH'S passion for "Friday Night Lights," especially the movie version, borders on the outrageous.

Asked how many times he has seen it, he responded with a somewhat sheepish laugh, "Can't even count."

Go ahead, try.

"Somewhere between 20 and 30," he said. "I love it. My favorite movie, by far. I've watched it way too many times."

Thanks to the recent construction of stands on the visiting side and, of course, the necessary light standards on both sides, along with permissions from assorted bigwigs, Cardinal O'Hara's on-campus stadium is now prepared to host night football.

Game No. 1, a Catholic AAA opener vs. still-mighty Archbishop Wood, will take place Friday at 7 o'clock.

Ah, but 6 days before the Lions were to debut their own version of "Friday Night Lights," Smith played a large role in Saturday Afternoon Fireworks.

As O'Hara crunched visiting Archbishop Carroll, 56-20, in a nonleague tilt, the 5-11, 175-pound junior handyman produced 231 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns.

Even better, four scores came on receptions and that feat gave him a share of the city leagues' one-game record. North Catholic's Mike Casey was first with four in 1966. Smith is No. 9 and the second in two seasons (also La Salle's Colin Buckley).

Smith is just the second guy to add a fifth TD (rushing) to the performance, joining Germantown Academy's Tyler Yerk in 2002 (same manner).

Smith's rushing score, an 8-yarder, came first. In what he figured was a 50-50 balance between slotback and running-back duties, he then succeeded through the air for 35, 23, 17 and 35 yards.

Overall, he ran seven times for 74 yards while adding seven receptions for 157. Of the four receiving TDs, the first was his favorite.

"That was because that ball got [partially] deflected," he said. "I was still running and I was able to catch it. Landed right in my hands."

Dashawn "Day-Day" Darden, O'Hara's quarterback, finished 12-for-17 for 219 yards and the four-to-Smith TDs.

"Day-Day lives in Norristown and I'm in Yeadon, but we're really good friends out of school, too," Smith said. "We always go over each other's house. We got together for summer workout sessions and we had the seven-on-seven stuff with O'Hara, too.

"The receivers always stay after practice with the coaches and quarterbacks to work on routes and really just being ready. Repetition, that's what it takes. Catching the ball. Running with it. I'm out there to help the team whatever way possible."

Just a week earlier, in a 38-6 loss to La Salle, the offense struggled mightily. Smith even went snagless.

"Frustrating. Just had to bounce back," he said. "It took a good week of practice and making sure we kept our confidence."

Meanwhile, the we're-goin'-night-time news came Friday during school hours. Not via the PA system, however.

"The players all found out by an email," he said. "We were all pumped up, but there wasn't much talk about it, really. We still had Carroll coming in the next day, so we had to keep our focus. We couldn't start going nuts about the Wood game just yet."

Now that Carroll is in the rear-view mirror . . .

"Ah, I can't even explain how it's going to feel Friday night," said Smith, who's also a cornerback. "It's going to be crazy. So many people are going to be watching and there will be so much energy.

"We know Wood is real good, though. We'll just come out and play."

Let's get cracklin'

Saturday night's Bonner-Prendergast/Roman nonleague game, played at Northeast, was suspended at 9:23 after a lightning-caused delay of 1 hour, 42 minutes. Roman leads, 21-14, with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter and the schools have made tentative plans to finish the game in November, assuming neither makes an extended playoff run.


Contact Ted Silary at silaryt@phillynews.com.

 

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