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Raiders ride Smith's shoulders to 34-20 win
By COLE COSGROVE
If Jefferson coach Kevin Hanis wondered how he was going to replace All-SPSL running back Kamarr Evans, he didnt have to look any further than senior running back Michael Smith.
Smith ran for three touchdowns and 236 yards on 31 carries to help lift the Raiders to a 34-20 win over Emerald Ridge Saturday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
Its always a nice way to start, Hanis said. For us, we thought this was a critical game. It sets the tone for the season. Now we think we can win.
Smith Ñ the states second-leading rusher after the first week Ñ had touchdown runs of 2, 4 and 6 yards.
We expected good things out of him, Hanis said. Hes a big, strong kid who has put in the work. He worked out all summer in the weight room. If he gets in the open, its a difficult challenge to bring him down.
As soon as I touched the ball there were big holes and I exploded to them, Smith said. It wasnt a surprise because I have one of the premiere lines in the league.
Hanis also gave credit to Jeffersons offensive line of Chris Marsh, Nick Lashbaugh, Ricky Leiser, Aaron Gilbert and Steve Dennis.
Our offensive line was our strength, Hanis said. Its the same group as last year Ñ that helps. Theyre working together. You wont hear a lot about them, but every time Michael Smith has a big game its because they were working for him. Thats where you win ball games Ñ in the trenches.
Jefferson senior quarterback Jared Bronson added a pair of 8-yard touchdown runs.
Jared Bronson showed great leadership, Hanis said. Our strength is throwing, but with the way were running, we didnt have to throw. We went with what was working.
The Raiders defense allowed just two rushing yards.
This Friday, Jefferson plays at 7 p.m. at Bethel, the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
Its a challenge in this league, Hanis said. Three of the top 10 teams in the state are on our schedule. Welcome to the SPSL. Bethel is a good team and we respect them. Our job is to go out and get respect. In all honesty, we have a good chance against Bethel.
Were really excited going against them, Smith said. If I get the ball a decent amount of times, I can make an impact. We can grind it out and control the clock.