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Flintridge Prep football's Stefan Smith prepares for coming-of-age season

Football: Smith looks to improve on his dynamic junior season in his final run with Flintridge Prep.

August 27, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Flintridge Prep football player Stefan Smith, right, is the youngest senior on his team, but arguably the most important.
Flintridge Prep football player Stefan Smith, right,… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

When his age comes up, Stefan Smith quickly cracks a smile, as if he was waiting for it.

His age is no secret at Flintridge Prep. On the football field, he’s always appeared years ahead of his competition in stature and play, but actually, the Rebels’ two-way threat is a year or two behind his peers who’ll be graduating in 2014.

Coming into his senior year at 16 years old after skipping fourth grade, Smith won’t even see the field at age 17 with a January birthday.

“He’s super young for our class, he’s 16 and he looks like he’s 22, honestly,” Rebels senior middle linebacker and guard Brian Heintz said. “Every year, he just gets bigger, faster, stronger and I think this year he’s just going to come out and just wreck everybody, not even kidding, and do way better than last year.”

If that’s the case, Flintridge Prep’s opposition needs to watch out.

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As a 15-year-old junior, Smith was a shoe-in for All-Area and All-Prep League first-team awards in 2012, as Prep’s most dynamic offensive threat. He tallied 1,708 total yards (1,480 rushing, 228 receiving) and 27 touchdowns (23 rushing, three receiving, one interception). On defense, the safety had four interceptions, 22.5 tackles, a forced fumble and blocked kick.

“He makes good things happen, whenever he’s on the field you just have that feeling,” Prep junior offensive and defensive lineman Cameron Wenn said.

Expectations for 2013 are even higher for Smith, who also said he wants to top what he did a year ago, in Flintridge Prep’s camp.

“I think Stefan's goal is to kind of put this team on his back and take them as far as he can,” Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison said. “The goal is always to be the best he can be. I think he wants to get more yardage, more touchdowns, be involved more in the decision making and he has the ability to do those things.”

It may have been hard for opposing teams to see Smith coming after he and the Rebels saw limited action in a 2011 season in which Prep went 1-9 and forfeited two games without enough players to field a team. Flintridge Prep averaged just 4.9 points in the eight games it did play.

While Heintz and Harrison were confident Smith was bound to break out, he didn’t know just what to expect in his first full season on varsity.

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