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Marmion’s Matt Smith hoping to close career on high note

Marmifootball offensive guard defensive end senior Matt Smith. |Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

Marmion football, offensive guard and defensive end, senior Matt Smith. |Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 13, 2012 6:16AM

It will seem strange, Matt Smith admits, to turn in his pads and uniform along with his Marmion teammates next week after they conclude their season at home against Walther Lutheran.

“We thought we had a really good chance of winning out, especially homecoming (two weeks ago vs. Aurora Christian),” said the senior left guard/defensive end/long snapper for the Cadets. “We played well the first half so it was really disappointing after that loss because we realized in three weeks, we’re done.”

Smith and several of his senior teammates are used to long playoff runs.

“It’s like another season,” he said. “Even though we knew we had a tough schedule going in this year (Marmion opponents now have 41 wins), we’ve been around the playoffs so much we just assumed it was gonna happen.”

Smith was one of several sophomores pulled up to the varsity two years ago who got to take part in the team’s run to Champaign and a state runner-up finish. He got to play on kickoffs and kick returns in the playoffs, including the state title game he called an “awesome experience.”

Now, the 2-5 Cadets are playing out the string, but it includes a big one at home Friday against Aurora Central.

“We’re crosstown rivals,” said Smith, who hasn’t met the Chargers in football since freshman year but has played them in basketball. “The fact we’re not going to the playoffs and they are doesn’t really have any effect on the rivalry. We just want to beat them really bad.”

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith may soon close the book on his prep career, but he hopes to play at the next level somewhere. He prefers defense, but the long-snapping skills he began developing in eighth grade when he played for his dad at Anunciation could help get him there.

“(Smith has) tremendous work ethic,” said Marmion coach Dan Thorpe. “He’s into it. He’s a football player. Old school. Hard work. Yes sir. No sir. He lives it. It’s been a painful season for him but he’s done well on both sides of the ball. He’s physical, likes to hit.”

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