If you ask Elysian Fields athletic director and head football coach Scott Ford what his senior star Christavian Smith brings to the table, you’ll get a pretty large list.
“Everything,” Ford said when asked about Smith. “Everything from starting as a freshman running back on a 10-0 team, to starting at free safety, strong safety, corner, slot receiver, running back, punt returner, kick returner, to selling popcorn at halftime. If we asked him to do it, he’ll do it. He’s the kind of kid who would go to nose guard if that’s what we needed him to do. There’s not much he can’t do.”
As a junior last year, Smith showed what he’s capable of doing by earning all-district honors despite only playing a total of five games due to suffering a neck injury in a scrimmage against Grand Saline.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Smith recalls. “We were on defense and we were playing Cover 3. I was a roll-down safety and a slot receiver ran a quick out. The ball was in the air and I was debating on whether I wanted to try to intercept it or just make the tackle. I decided to just make the tackle and my teammate, Tommy Mason, came from the other side and I guess I had my head down too much and after that, I blacked out. I couldn’t feel anything.”
“Temporarily, it was very devastating,” Ford said. “It affected our entire program from our coaches to our kids, not just because of his physical gifts but his presence makes us all better with his leadership. So that was very difficult.”
What was more devastating was when doctors told Smith he would never play football again.
“It was the fact that he said I would never be able to play again (that motivated me),” Smith said. “I was like, ‘No, it can’t be this way.’ My step dad constantly told me to keep working. Keep working on my own. He was probably my biggest motivation.”
Smith worked hard to prove doctors wrong and returned for the Yellow Jackets’ seventh game of the season.
“My first game back was against Waskom,” Smith said. “I recovered a fumble on defense and then scored a touchdown after coming back from my neck injury.”
The senior said he hopes to continue to make an impact with his team in his final year. “My teammates look up to me,” Smith added.
“He’s always been a leader by example and this year he’s taking the verbal horns in his hands a little bit and is leading a little bit more through both,” Ford said of Smith’s leadership. “There’s not a kid who outworks him in practice. He’s our best player so that’s a pretty good standard to set for everybody else. Nobody else has any excuses.”
The Jackets’ saw their season come to an end last year when they lost in the first round to Corrigan-Camden in a 34-27 final.
“We can’t go out in the first round again,” Smith said. “It’s a must that we go deep.”
Regardless of what happens in his last year of high school football, Smith is hoping to extend his playing days to the next level.
“I want to play college football but I don’t know what I want to study yet,” he offered.
“ETBU wants him,” Ford said. “He really excelled at the East Texas Coaches Association. He worked in the slot receivers and went up against John Tyler, Lufkin, Kilgore, Gilmer and nobody has covered him yet. He only got five games in last year so I feel sure that if he stays healthy, he’s going to make somebody happy.”
He’ll look to make the Yellow Jackets happy by leading them to a win Friday night when they take on White Oak on the road.