Lineman Keegan Smith listens to coaches following a 42-14 win over Homer in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 opening district game. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Lumen Christi Catholic High School athlete Keegan Smith thought his sports future could be in hockey.
Longtime football Coach Herb Brogan had other ideas.
Both are probably pretty happy now as the Titans have won three consecutive state football titles and are in the hunt for another as district football rolls around this Friday.
Lumen Christi (9-0) will host Riverview Gabriel Richard (8-2) in the district final Friday at Crowley Memorial Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 regional final at a yet-to-be-determined site.
The Titans opened defense of their state title with a 42-14 win against Homer in Division 7 playoffs last Friday. Lumen Christi is playing one division lower this season – based on student enrollment at LCCHS.
Smith helped lead the offensive line as the Titans rushed for more than 250 yards in the first half against Homer building a 35-0 lead.
But football was not always his first love.
“I have been playing hockey since age three and made a Triple A hockey team as an eighth grader,” Smith said. “I thought about giving up football.
“Coach Brogan sat me down and said ‘you are an idiot’ if you quit this. I love this sport (football) with everything now.”
Smith has signed a letter of intent to play football next fall at Central Michigan University. The Chippewas may be getting a hidden gem as Smith was named the outstanding lineman at Nike’s Opening Showcase in Nashville this past summer.
“There were some of the highest recruits in the nation at the camp,” Smith said. “I found out that I can compete with those guys and gained a little confidence.”
Smith has been part of the Titans varsity program for four years. Beside the three state titles, Lumen Christi has a 46-3 since 2016. Smith plays multiple positions on the offensive and defensive lines for the Titans.
“Lumen Christi changes you and builds comradery with everyone on the team,” Smith said. “Coach Brogan is a great coach and the staff loves everyone.”
Smith puts in some extra effort, working out a 5 a.m. in the morning with his brother and other members of the Titans’ football team. He can bench 420 and expects to get stronger at CMU.
“The coaching staff at CMU is turning the program upside down … making everyone faster and stronger,” Smith said.
The senior captain knows that winning another state title is not guaranteed. He tries to keep everyone in check as best as he can.
“We are not playing for the people (football players) who were here before us,” Smith said. “We are playing for the people who are here now.
“We are going to make our own history.”
Two other local teams will look to make history Friday night.
Hillsdale (10-0) will host Constantine (8-2) Friday beginning at 7 p.m. in Division 6.
Onsted (8-2) will travel to Grass Lake (9-1) in another Division 6 district final Friday at 7 p.m.
Grass Lake could meet Hillsdale in a regional final next week with wins by both squads.