Smith goes to Montana Tech
CHARLO – Landers Smith, at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, is a force to be reckoned with on the football field as well as the basketball court for the Charlo Vikings. The all-state athlete announced Thursday, Dec. 20, that he will be taking his football passion to Butte.
He put pen to paper and signed a letter of intent to continue his football career with the Montana Tech Orediggers. Smith committed to the school despite offers and interest from schools like Montana State, the University of Montana Western and Carroll College. He chose the school, in part, due to his familiarity with the coaching staff and because he already has friends at the school. “I have a lot of friends who go there and have gone there,” he said. “They had nothing but great things to say about the coaches and football program.”
He got to know the coaches in Butte while participating in an eight-man football camp held at different times while he was in high school. “I have built up a bit of a relationship with the coaches,” he said.
Smith was a big part of the high-powered Viking offense during the past three seasons. Viking head coach Mike Krahn recalled the power and speed Smith brought to the field. “We knew that we had a special player when he scored seven touchdowns in his first game as a sophomore,” Krahn said. “He was truly a threat to score anytime he touched the football.”
During his high school career, Smith finished fourth in the state as an athlete in eight-man football with more than 4,106 rushing yards. He is second all-time in rushing touchdowns with 83. The Viking team captain tallied a grand total of 136 touchdowns during his time in the prep ranks. This year, Smith rushed for 1,108 yards and made 20 touchdowns to lead the Vikings. On defense, Smith recorded a career 357 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, five fumble recoveries and six interceptions.
Smith said the team chemistry was something he won’t forget. “When all the boys were together it felt like a family gathering. My team is what made me successful and they are the ones who pushed me to become a better athlete. I couldn’t thank them enough for helping me get to the next level of football.”
On Christmas morning, Smith received another football accolade. He was asked to participant in the state’s premier All-Star game during the 73rd Annual Montana East-West Shrine game. “What kid who has had a passion for football hasn’t dreamt about having the opportunity to play in this game? It’s an honor to be selected among these All-Class players.
He said playing with the All-Stars will give him a chance to get his “feet wet” in 11-man football, but the game also has a bigger purpose. “The most important thing about this game isn’t for us football players,” he said. “It’s a chance to raise money for the Shriners kids. It’s such a great cause.”
Smith wanted to acknowledge those that helped him on his journey so far. “I’m thankful for all the support from my coaches, teammates, friends and community.” But most of all, he wanted to thank his family for pushing and supporting him.
He had an extra-special thank you for his biggest supporter: “Anybody who knows my mom, Sarah Smith, knows she is very passionate about football. She is my number one supporter, and I would love to give her a special thanks for always supporting me and driving me to become better on and off the field.”