Meade senior Marcus Smith thrives against Broadneck after position switch


Meade quarterback DJ Pate has played well since taking over after Marcus Smith injured his shoulder, and Smith has become of one Pate’s favorite targets. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
November 18, 2013

Like any senior, Meade’s Marcus Smith had ideas of how his final season would unfold.

After starting at quarterback and leading the Mustangs to the Maryland 4A state semifinals as a junior, Smith was primed for another big season in 2013. He accounted for nine touchdowns (six passing, three rushing) in Meade’s first four games of the year. The team was winning, and college interest in Smith was building.

Then, in Meade’s 30-0 win over Severna Park on Oct. 4, Smith was removed from the game with a shoulder injury and replaced by North County transfer DJ Pate. Pate has been the team’s starting quarterback since. Smith has switched positions to wide receiver, sprained each of his ankles and missed three games.

“It’s been a tough season,” he said.

But in Friday night’s 41-31 win over Broadneck in the 4A East region playoffs, that tough season took a turn for the better. Smith caught six passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns, including a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter that helped cement the win. Meade (9-2) will host Arundel (9-2) in the 4A East region final Friday night.

Host B.J. Koubaroulis runs through the top plays from the weekend of football in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

“This has been a difficult season for him. It didn’t happen the way that I know Marcus would have wanted it to,” Coach Rich Holzer said. “But he really showed up this past game, and hopefully we’ll extend the season a little bit and he’ll get more chances to do that.”

Smith’s shoulder injury hindered his throwing motion, which prompted Holzer to ask the senior to switch positions. Pate has also affected the decision by throwing multiple touchdown passes in each of his past four games.

While some players would have objected to such a change, Smith took his move to wide receiver in stride.

“I just want to do whatever I have to do to help my team win,” said Smith, who has offers from Kent State, Marshall and Toledo. “If I went to receiver, I knew [Pate] would throw me the ball a lot. And I knew that if I got touches, I’m going to get in the end zone.”

He did exactly that Friday night, scoring twice on screen passes before breaking free on a longer play in the fourth quarter. Pate saw Smith matched up one-on-one with a defender and knew that he could get separation.

“He’s an outstanding athlete,” Holzer said. “It was just a matter of time before he went off this year.”

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