By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY
A mid-summer knee injury changed Chris Smith’s senior season for the Heber Springs Panthers.
Smith, an offensive-defensive lineman, injured the knee during a workout, but he remained with the team. He has been helping his teammates in other ways during the 100th year of Heber Springs football.
“I’m strong in my faith and know it happened for a reason,” Smith said. “God has a plan for me.”
Smith didn’t let the injury prevent him from contributing to the program.
He was one of the busiest participants at Panther practices and looking for ways to help on the sidelines during games.
“I fill water bottles, catch snaps and cheer for my team,” Smith said. “That is the best thing I can do right now with the injury.”
Smith said his teammates were important in his recovery. He said that will be one of his memories from his senior season.
“I will always remember how my teammates cared for me when I was injured,” Smith said. “They were always texting me with encouraging messages, bringing food, and just hanging out with me. My teammates’ support kept me from being too upset from not being able to play.”
Smith is one of the seniors who hope to help the Panthers win at Little Rock Mills on Friday and advanced into the state playoffs.
“No matter our record, it is how we finish, not the way we started,” he said. “This is a must-win game or our season will end. If we win, we get to play for another week.”