High school football: Lone Peak's new kicker no average player
On Lone Peak's first scrimmage game against Bountiful High School, the Knights couldn't seem to connect the ball to the end zone Friday night and ended up losing 31-21. It was the Knights' first loss since playing Fremont in 2010.
But despite their loss, they have a new key player, Michael Smith, who saved the team from defeat the week before. Smith is the starting kicker for the Knights.
Lone Peak High School, ranked No. 1 in the Division 4, 5A athletics for football last year, went the whole season being undefeated and took home the trophy.
Luckily for the team this year, some of the starting receivers are coming back as seniors to try and repeat last year's success.
But the team nearly lost another contest last Friday as multiple PAT's were missed. At the last 37 seconds of the game, Mountain Crest finished strong with a final touchdown.
As Lone Peak took control of the ball, quarterback Baron Gajkowski quickly got shut down as he was tackled at Mountain Crest's 29-yard line when the time ran out.
But luck was on Lone Peak’s side and officials put 1 second back on the clock. It was just enough time to put in Smith for his first field goal kick ever. Kicking a 47-yard field goal, he saved the day for the Knights.
“It was just the right moment, right time and I just consider myself lucky to be able to do that,” Smith said.
Smith, born and raised in Alpine, also has been playing soccer and started playing varsity for the Lone Peak boy’s soccer team as a junior.
“Michael first of all is a really good athlete and a good person out of the field too,” said fellow Lone Peak soccer player Carlos Vera. “Michael is the kind of player that doesn’t give up. His hard work really encourages us to work hard every day."
“He shows dedication and leadership by example,” said Lone Peak's boys head soccer coach, Blaine Hale. “Dedication by relentless extra effort.”
Playing for the high school team as well as his club team, Smith, “The Dynamo,” has been working hard to reach his goals for soccer. But making the decision the end of his junior year to play football, he had to put his club team on hold.
Even though there was already another talented kicker, Trevor Robb, in his position, being a rookie football player never got him down.
“It took a lot of hard work and effort from Michael knowing that Trevor already had the starting spot, said fellow football player Austin McChesney. “Michael had to be ready for the day that Trevor didn’t do so well. And being in Michael’s position, you might only get one shot.”
Attending football practices daily and spending time after working on his kicking has gotten Smith to where he is now. And when he isn’t kicking, he is playing scout team corner and working hard for the offense to get better.
“Mike has worked very hard before the season in the weight room,” said teammate Carson Beus. “He is a kicker but trains as hard or harder than anyone on the team just to play."
McChesney said that Smith is always trying to become more conditioned and ready for when he gets to play.
"Mike has taught our whole team that with believing comes succeeding," said McChesney.
Taylor Anne is a sports journalism reporter at Dixie State College.