Father-son duo playing big role in Springfield success

Cutline1: Springfield High School defensive coordinator Conley Smoot speaks with the team after the Wildcats beat Northmont 42-7 on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
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Cutline1: Springfield High School defensive coordinator Conley Smoot speaks with the team after the Wildcats beat Northmont 42-7 on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

SPRINGFIELD — When his defensive unit runs onto the sidelines after getting a stop, Springfield High School defensive coordinator Conley Smoot takes a few minutes to instruct his players about what they’re doing wrong and what they’re seeing from the opposing team.

The problem? He’s not able to watch his son, Wildcats senior quarterback Te’Sean Smoot, drive Springfield’s offense down the field.

“I try to get out there, but sometimes we score too quick and I’ll have to watch it on film,” Conley Smoot said.

The father-son Smoot duo has played a key role in the Wildcats ascent to the state’s biggest stage over the last four years. Conley Smoot is the coordinator of one of the top defenses in the area, while Te’Sean, the Wildcats dual-threat quarterback, has accounted for more than 2,265 yards and 30 touchdowns (17 rushing, 13 passing) this season.

“I remember when he was four years old, we were driving down Clifton Avenue and he saw Evans Stadium,” Conley Smoot said. “He said, ‘Dad, that’s where you played football, that’s where I want to play.’ It’s awesome. I’m speechless from it. Watching these kids — this senior class, they started playing together in third grade — it’s a blessing.”

The senior quarterback is fortunate to have his father on the sidelines with him, he said.

“He always keeps my head on straight and keeps me up when things aren’t going right,” Te’Sean Smoot said.

He’s also thankful for the way the Wildcats defense prepares them throughout the week.

“He makes it hard in practice,” Te’Sean Smoot said. “Going against them every day and him knowing so much, it gets us ready for the game.”

The Wildcats defense has allowed just 7.6 points per game this season, tallying 22.5 sacks and eight interceptions. The key has been film study throughout the week, Conley Smoot said.

“I just give them the blueprint and they execute,” he said. “They study film like no other. … We’ve got kids who’ll watch an hour, hour-and-a-half of film throughout the week and it shows in their game play.”

Springfield High School senior quarterback Te'Sean Smoot throws a pass during their scrimmage game against Louisville Trinity earlier this season. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED
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Springfield High School senior quarterback Te'Sean Smoot throws a pass during their scrimmage game against Louisville Trinity earlier this season. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

Conley Smoot, a 2002 South High School graduate and 2008 Wilmington College graduate, knew his son’s class had a chance to be great from the beginning. They won pee wee and middle school championships before appearing in back-to-back state semifinal games during their sophomore and junior seasons, he said.

“The ultimate goal is a state title,” he said.

Springfield coach Maurice Douglass also coached his son, Moses, now a sophomore defensive back at the University of Kentucky. Wildcats offensive coordinator Chris Wallace’s son CJ will join the program next season, Douglass said.

“They’ve got a great relationship,” Douglass said of the father-son Smoot duo. “It’s a beautiful sight to see a father and son be on the same team. It’s special.”

Te’Sean Smoot, the two-time Greater Western Ohio Conference Athlete of the Year, has more than 20 scholarship offers to play college football. He recently received an official offer from Ohio University and is expected to take several official visits this winter.

The 9-1 Wildcats, however, don’t want the season to end anytime soon. They host seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome in a Division I, Region 2 quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Friday at Springfield High School. The Wildcats beat the Celtics 37-14 in a regional quarterfinal game in 2019.

“I’m just trying to embrace the moment,” Te’Sean Smoot said. “My class is trying to make the best of it. Ever since pee wee, we’ve always wanted a state championship. My Dad has been coaching us since then and he’s always preached state championship. He built us up for these moments and we’re just trying to cherish it and take it all the way for the city.”

While his son will join the college ranks next season, Conley Smoot will be back on the Springfield sidelines next fall.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’m a Wildcat.”

Today’s Game

Who: 7 Dublin Jerome (7-4) at 2 Springfield (9-1)

What: Division I, Region 2 quarterfinal

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Springfield High School

Tickets: To purchase tickets, log on to OHSAA.org/tickets.

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