Perhaps the fear of facing the one-man wrecking crew of Smith created bad karma for Pahokee's state championship game opponent, Pensacola Catholic, before they ever boarded the bus from Escambia County. The team was asked to bring their colored jerseys to Gainesville as Pahokee would be wearing white."> Perhaps the fear of facing the one-man wrecking crew of Smith created bad karma for Pahokee's state championship game opponent, Pensacola Catholic, before they ever boarded the bus from Escambia County. The team was asked to bring their colored jerseys to Gainesville as Pahokee would be wearing white.">

Smith Leads Pahokee To 2nd Straight 2B Title

While tickets to Saturday morning's Class 2B showdown read FHSAA Football Finals, they might as well have said welcome to "The Antone Smith Show." <p> Perhaps the fear of facing the one-man wrecking crew of Smith created bad karma for Pahokee's state championship game opponent, Pensacola Catholic, before they ever boarded the bus from Escambia County. The team was asked to bring their colored jerseys to Gainesville as Pahokee would be wearing white.

However, the Crusaders showed up with their white jerseys instead and they were forced to borrow the University of Florida's green practice jerseys to play the game. Luckily, Florida's green matched the jerseys Catholic normally wears. If only Florida players had been in those unis.

The bad karma became a bad dream as Smith dazzled the Crusaders with a 276-yard, three-touchdown performance on 25 carries to lead Pahokee (10-1) to a 43-9 win over Pensacola Catholic. Smith's three touchdowns tied Sean Taylor's state record of 44 touchdowns in a single season to lead Pahokee to its second straight state championship. His season of dominance earned Smith the title of Mr. Florida Football in 2004.

"Put it in the record books and slam them shut --- we are back-to-back state champions," Smith said after the game. "Big game and I would say that this is the best performance in my high school career."

Though his long run was only 30 yards, Smith made it evident to defenders that he could not be arm tackled one on one as he hit seams with quickness and juked out defenders downfield. He had one long run called back for a block in the back because he made such a quick move that it sent a PC safety in the opposite direction, right into one of his (Smith's blockers) who was flagged for an illegal block in the back.

Smith was quick to credit his teammates for his success.

"I think this is the best offensive line I've had in my four years at Pahokee," he said. "I'm not a big celebrator so I just want to sit back and enjoy this game."

Pahokee controlled every facet of the game. When Smith wasn't tearing up the turf, he was used as a decoy as the Blue Devils connected on three play-action touchdown passes. They didn't even need to convert their extra points, only connecting on one PAT.

Regardless, the spotlight was Smith's and while he wanted to relish his feat on Florida Field, the recruiting questions were fired at him many and often. "You're all going to have to wait till Feb. 2 to see where I'm going," Smith said. "Right now, all I have is a scheduled visit to Auburn next weekend."

Would this be his last time playing in The Swamp? The humble running back had some good things to say about the orange and blue.

"Coach Meyer is coming out here now and I think he is going to come out and turn the program around here," Smith said. "I am still considering them."

Other prime suitors whom he has on his own list of finalists are Miami, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Florida State.

"I'm looking forward to playing in some all-star games now," he added. "I got Florida-California coming up, but I didn't get selected for the Army game. I'm alright with it."

While his high school career came to an end at the top, he was adamant that there were many things to come from him in the future. "This chapter is not over and I can't wait to go to the next step and the step after that," Smith said. "I'm going to be hitting the weight room and running track in the spring as well."

It was interesting to note that Smith met the media shortly after accepting the Florida High School Player of the Year Award. The trophy that you see him with on the field is just the "posing trophy". He will actually get his in a few months. Smith didn't like that very much. He wanted to take this one with him. Fightin' Gators Magazine Publisher Dave Stirt related the story of Leon Washington, who won the award his senior year. Stirt said that Washington really wanted the award and seemingly tried to convince Dave and the Florida Dairy folks that this was his award. Smith said that he understood just how Washington felt.


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