Red Mountain’s new quarterback: Darren Smith

Going into the second week of high school football in Arizona, the Mountain Lions of Red Mountain High School play Cesar Chavez High School. One of the keys to the game will be the play of Senior quarterback, Darren Smith. I had the opportunity to talk with the current Mountain Lion quarterback on Thursday.

Question: You are new to Arizona, so what has been the biggest adjustment for you since coming to the desert?

“We came out here for football and academics. The biggest adjustment has been getting to know the campus and where my classes are at. My old school had one building. Everything was in that building. Here we have multiple buildings and a lot more kids. I had around 70 kids in my whole class back in New York. That’s not the case here. Football wise, there is a size difference. I was one of the biggest kids on the team back in New York. Now, I am just with everybody else in terms of height. Speed of the game was different, but I think I have handled it just fine.” Smith said.

Question:  Being here at Red Mountain, there are expectations. What was the thing that made you decide on coming to Red Mountain?

“Coach Peterson. My Dad and I really liked him. He’s old school with how he coaches. He’s straight forward with his players. He told me that the quarterback job was not mine and that I would have to fight for it. My Dad and I really liked that kind of atmosphere. Nothing is given to you. Everything is earned. We saw the team in the weight room and everyone was working hard. It seemed like a really nice culture and that they had had success the last couple of years.” Smith mentioned.

Question: Did the team accept you pretty well?

“Oh, yeah. The team was very accepting. It’s a good group of guys on this team.” Smith explained.

Question: Last week against Desert Ridge, there were a lot of penalties. How much do you attribute that to first game jitters? How much is it just not being focused?

“I would say some would be first game jitters, but I do put a lot of it on me because there were plenty of snap penalties. I don’t know if I was being loud enough or the defense was saying something. We did make an adjustment this week, so we should be able to make the snaps cleaner.” Smith said.

Question: What’s the biggest adjustment you are trying to make going into week two of the season?

“I’m probably still getting a feel for the game out here. It was a little different playing in front of so many people last week. We had a band at the game and I’ve never had a band at a home game. I’ve never been in a huddle in a game situation, so that was different for me. I was trying to read the play for the team and get it out to them, so that was different.” Smith explained.

Question: What are your personal goals?

“For me, it would probably be a state championship. I’ve played in a state semi-final back home. It’s the most exciting and disappointing game I’ve ever played in. I want to play in college. I would like to play Division 1 football, but if it comes from a lower division I would still play football. It doesn’t matter. Whoever wants me, I will go play for them. I just love to play football.” Smith said with a smile.

Question: Do you miss home?

“I do. I miss home a lot. It was a little different back home. There were hills, nice green trees, green grass. Out here it’s different shades of tan. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum out here. I am still getting used to it out here.” Smith said.

Darren Smith loves the talent that he has around him.

Question: What is the talent like on your team?

“The talent out here is crazy. I’ve never had a good defense before. The teams I have been on have always had to put 50 on the board to have a chance. Seeing six points on the board for the opposition last week was really cool for me. Offensive wise, we can run it, ground and pound, but we can also throw it really well. We are really versatile on offense.” Smith said.

Question: What do you think of Francis Kumi?

“Francis is crazy. His work ethic makes him crazy. He is one of the hardest working players that I have ever been around. Francis is one of the leaders on the team. He is one of our captains. Just the God given raw talent he has is nuts. He’s just a real savvy and smart football player. I enjoy having him on my team.” Smith said.

I asked about his football idol and Smith did not hesitate. He is a Tom Brady fan and New England Patriot fan.

Question: If there is one characteristic you would want from Tom Brady, what is it?

“His calmness in the pocket. He makes so many plays when it looks like things are breaking down. He steps up and makes throws. I like watching him make plays when he has chaos happening around him. It’s much better than watching somebody throw 50 yards down field.” Smith said.

Question: Was your Dad smiling from ear to ear last week? Is your Dad your hero?

“Yes, he was smiling last week. He is my hero. When I was young to like when I was five we didn’t have much. He bought my grandfathers construction business out and now he has many people working for him. He makes really good money and it’s just amazing to see what my father has done in terms of making life better for me and the family. He’s such a hard worker. It’s the coolest thing ever for me to see. We’ve come from very little and now it makes you appreciate all the things in life that we have now. The ability to move out to Arizona for better schools and football just blows my mind that we are able to do that. My Dad is the reason for that. I am very appreciative of my Dad.” Smith said.

Darren Smith is a young man that knows where he has come from, is grateful for where he is, and is looking forward to what the future holds for him. He appears to take nothing for granted and that is quite refreshing to see in a young person these days.


Twitter: @pigskinopinion