By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For the kid who just picked up the game of Football just as his freshman season was quite literally kicking off, South Salem’s Daschel Smith has really left his mark going into the final week of the regular season..
In three years as quarterback, going back to the Covid-Shortened season, Smith has thrown for over 5,000 yards and is knocking at the door of the single-season passing yards going into their season finale against North Salem.
141 yards to be exact and is five touchdowns away from another record. Something crazy considering he’s just picked up the game four years ago and points to baseball as his primary sport.
“I started playing right before my first freshman game, so it’s just kinda grown on me and if I’m being honest I like baseball more than I like football, but I really enjoy football and am appreciative towards it,”Smith starts. “I never thought I’d be here, the last couple of years have really come together and I honestly had fun working hard for it. I like football because it just really shows how much you put into it on the field.
“It really just built up to this and everything has really come together for us to have Zach (Wusstig) come here. And having our guys here that we know like…I feel like I could trust all of them. “It just kind of comes with everything else that we’ve put into it. It comes with all of these guys coming in everyday and being able to want to work with me in the first place and build me up and encourage me. As I got better, it’s all finally coming together. It’s just been fun.
The overall focus has been to help the team, and helped the offense he did by doing his part with South Salem sitting 7-1 on the season and looking to go into the playoffs with some more momentum as they prepare for the Mayor’s Cup this Friday at North Salem High School. All behind the idea of taking it one play at a time, one day at a time.
Something they know about, but it’s just a matter of stringing it together and they hope to finally crack that code this Friday.
“That’s going to be the most important. We know we can play with other teams, we just got to start playing like it,” describes Smith. “Because even when it’s like other teams like Sprague, we struggle in the first quarter. Our offense struggles, our defense was great all night and bailed us out, but our offense has been struggling sometimes this year. So if we can put one full-game together, it’s going to be great.”
But all-in-all, it’s been a fun ride for the baseball-player turned footballer. Smith’s enjoying it, he’s never expecting to be where he’s at, but Smith’s happy to be apart of history and seeing all of the hardwork he’s put in through the years paying off on Friday nights.
“It’s just been fun,” smiles Smith. “It’s been fun because I didn’t think I’d be leading the school or the state in passing my senior year, junior year whatever it is. It’s just been fun to enjoy through the grind and everything. Guys are going to pass me up in this offense, we can see that, we pass so much more than any other team and that’s what we do here. We got some good guys coming up in eighth-grade right now that’ll be here next year.
“It’s just been fun and I’m glad to be a part of history here.”
Kickoff for The Mayor’s Cup is at 7pm.