McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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September 26, 2013

Jarome Smith stands small, plays big for Buffs

(Continued)

McALESTER —

Head varsity coach Bryan Pratt said even before Smith arrived at McAlester High School, he knew what Smith would bring. Smith and Pratt’s son Caden, another Buffs senior, had become friends in middle school, and coaches started noticing Smith’s talents about that same time.

“He came up here, and just some of his natural skills, his vision and the way he can cut, things like that, we saw that and we knew that it was about as good as anybody that we had,” Coach Pratt said.

“It’s a big family, and that’s what we want it to be, and I think he’s really bought into that.”

Smith made the varsity as a freshman in 2010. He got his first touch in an Oct. 29 home game against Tulsa Hale, catching a screen pass.

“I almost scored,” Smith said. “Ran for like 60 yards and got tackled at the 2.”

Of his first game, he added, “I was more than nervous. I was a little scared.”

Smith said learning the blocking schemes for McAlester’s quarterback counter runs have been the toughest to figure out, in part because of the size of most defensive linemen. As running back, Smith said he’s most tried to copy the moves of Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.

Smith’s time in McAlester hasn’t been spotless. Though he wouldn’t mention specifics, he said “trouble comes here easily.”

But whatever issues Smith has had to deal with, he’s been able to move past them and develop the maturity demanded of the Buffs’ seniors and starting players. And he’s all but flown out of the gate this year, compiling 280 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in his first three games, plus 63 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions.

“I look at is my team, and I look at it as I’m going to carry them, do whatever I need to do for us to win,” Smith said.

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