Macomb Dakota seeks to rebound from loss

Macomb Dakota won't have the undefeated season that senior linebacker Michael Smith and his teammates badly wanted.

But a state championship would more than make up for the loss of a perfect record.

The Cougars fell to 5-1 with a 19-16 loss to Sterling Heights Stevenson Friday night.

Despite that loss, it's still been a banner season for Smith considered a promising Division I prospect. He's been averaging 10 tackles per game in his third year of varsity football.

"Right now, I'm probably at the best of my game," Smith said. "Last year was probably my best season.'

It was also the best season in the history of the program, which had an 11-2 record and returned 39 seniors with this year's team."

Smith had been playing defensive tackle. But Macomb Dakota's coaching staff had a hole at defensive tackle and Smith was more than happy to oblige.

"I was willing to do it," he said. "I play wherever they need me. I have the position down pat. I feel I've been getting the tackles that I need to make."

On the field, wherever there's a football, Michael Smith is usually right there. "I can get to the ball in a hurry," he said.

Despite the one loss, Smith is excited with his team's championship potential.

"This team can be better than last year's," he said. "We have more size on defense and a lot more speed."

Mid-American Conference schools are especially hot on Smith's trail. He is seriously considering a college future with Bowling Green, Toledo and Western Michigan. He has visited Western. But he won't make his decision until after the season.

"I'm not sure where I'll be playing football at yet," he said. "But ever since I've been playing football, I've wanted to play at the college level. Whoever has the best program of the schools I'm considering, that's where I'll go."

Smith is making the most of his season this year at linebacker to get ready for an eventual college future.

"One of the reasons I got moved to linebacker is that the colleges are saying that's where they'll put me," Smith said. "I'll have to get stronger."

But before worrying about his college career, Smith wants to focus on his team's drive to a state title.

"We have the potential to go very far," he said. "This is a team that can win a lot of ballgames."

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