Friday, October 08, 1999

CCD back aims at 2,000 yards

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jon Smith is averaging 10.5 yards per carry.
| ZOOM |
(Ernest Coleman photo)
        The list of running backs who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards at Cincinnati Country Day is impressive.

        It includes Beau Perry, Rodney Vincent, Michael Hill, Larry Pitts, Brad Jones and Michael Gillis. Jon Smith joined this group as a junior. Now the 6-foot, 195-pound senior tailback is taking aim at 2,000 yards.

        Through six games, Smith has rushed 123 times for 1,296 yards (10.5 average) while scoring 21 touchdowns and scoring 126 points.

        “Andre Barkley is the only back that went over 2,000 yards (2,325) since I took over,” 13-year CCD coach Tim Dunn said.

        As a junior, Smith and teammate Michael Gillis broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark as Cincinnati Country Day went 9-1 but failed to qualify for the Division VI playoffs.

        “One of the newspapers had us making the playoffs and we were at school watching game films on Sunday,” Smith said. “Coach Dunn later came in and told us we didn't qualify.”

        Smith remembers the crying session that followed with the five graduating seniors, an event that stuck with the entire team.

        “None of us want to experience that feeling again,” Smith said. “It may have been a blessing because everyone worked much harder during the summer in the weight room.”

        Smith lifted and ran during the offseason to improve speed and strength. The result shows by his numbers this year.

        “Andre Barkley was by far the best running back I've coached but Jon isn't far behind,” Dunn said. “He has great vision of the entire field, is very quick to hit holes and runs with authority.”

        Smith's rushing yardage is more than Dunn expected because of a defense that hasn't lived up to expectations.

        “Jon's usually still in the game in the fourth quarter because the defense hasn't stopped anyone and allows 229 yards a game,” Dunn said.

        “Last week, rather than sit and read, we changed and got aggressive. This bothers me because if we qualify to the playoffs, teams tend to find a way to counteract that aggressiveness.”

        A four-sport athlete (football, baseball, track, basketball), Smith also gets it done in the classroom with a 3.8 grade point average.

        “Football is my favorite sport and that's what I want to do in college,” Smith said.

        CCD has games remaining against Landmark Christian, Lockland, New Miami and Reading.

        “I have very few personal goals other than to do by best every game,” Smith said. “The team goals are more important and one is to win the state championship.”


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