Ad Spot

PNG graduate goes from quarterbacking for Indians to teaching Memorial’s top passer

The quarterback of a football team is arguably the most important and demanding position in all of sports.

Memorial quarterback coach Ahmad Smith knows all about the position. He played for Port Neches-Groves before graduating in 2013. From there, he went on to play quarterback and receiver for Henderson State University and accepted the position on the Memorial coaching staff in 2018.

This year, Smith is leading the most experienced and decorated quarterback in the area. Last year, junior quarterback Jah’mar Sanders excelled through the air and on his feet. Sanders’ ability to make plays earned him District MVP.

Smith, who also calls offensive plays for the freshman team, enters his fourth season with Sanders lining up behind center.

“He was my first quarterback,” Smith said of Sanders. “He is now at a point to where if my eyes aren’t on the young guys, he will tell them something that I will tell them. Our offense starts with the quarterback. That is attributed to how hard he worked and grew from his sophomore year to now.”

Smith knows about playing the position at a high level. Playing quarterback for PNG is something many children dream of, but few get the opportunity.

“My first district game starting, I got player of the week,” he said. “I got four touchdowns. That was probably my most memorable moment. Of course, playing in Mid-County Madness is always fun. It doesn’t get better than that. It is awesome. It is a sold out crowd. That atmosphere is better than some colleges around here. It is different.”

Smith said he had to grow up a lot going to college seven hours away from home.

“There wasn’t any home-cooked meals,” he said, laughing. “I had to fight for a position. It was an experience. It was tough times, but I loved it.”

Smith never considered coaching until he graduated from Henderson.

After not having football, he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“My grandpa coached here,” Smith said. “He was in my ear about coaching. That first summer workout, I knew it was what I wanted to do. It was just the love of the game.”

Memorial Head Coach Brian Morgan said Smith fits in well with the staff.

“He really has a good perspective on football,” Morgan said. “He is a sharp guy and really works hard. I don’t have to tell him to do things. He is one of those guys that just does their job. That eliminates a lot of problems that I would have to deal with.”

Morgan said Sanders and Smith have similar personalities.

“Neither of them are loud or yellers,” Morgan said. “He is not an in-your-face guy. He is just going to talk and tell them what he needs. I think they communicate really well.”

Smith said he is thankful to still be involved with the game.

“It is different being a player that is now teaching and coaching,” he said. “You can see yourself in the kids. I was at that point one time. Hopefully, we can get them to that level where they are playing in college. It is a big accomplishment when you can do for someone what someone did for you.”

Local

“You could just smell it.” Responding officer describes discovering Sartin restaurateur’s body.

High School Sports

Nederland seniors happy to describe the end of PNG’s Purple reign

Local

Port Arthur Police detail what type of shooting could have led to man’s death Sunday

High School Sports

Memorial trio makes college selections over weekend

Local

Nederland’s Dre’den Lowe, 12, in coma after MIS-C & COVID attack

Education

BRIGHT FUTURES — Memorial cheerleader is backflipping into the future

Local

POLICE: Meth found in Port Arthur traffic stop would have “impacted all of south county”

Local

Judge Giblin remembered for being strong local leader, dedicated family man

Beaumont

Murder, DWI with child passenger lowlight last week’s indictments

Local

Trial begins for daughter accused in seafood restaurant founder’s death

Columns

City of Beaumont: Jefferson County charges Mid County cities less for prisoners

Local

Port Arthur Health Department outlines who should receive Pfizer Boosters to battle COVID

Check this Out

CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — All the olive and plenty to love

Local

Port Arthur man killed in early morning shooting on Sunday

College/Pro Sports

Memorial student-athletes Jah’mar Sanders, Jaylon Guilbeau announce college football decisions

Business

ON THE MENU — Golden Croissant ready for National Coffee Day

Local

INDICTMENT: Woman slides paper under door to light apartment on fire

community

Port Acres group plans park picnic to bring community together

Local

18-year-old jailed in 1 of 2 Port Arthur shootings

Columns

DR. BOBBY LOPEZ — Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

High School Sports

Memorial grad Valsin taking on leadership role for NSU

High School Sports

TIP OF THE CAP — Bulldogs end Mid County Madness drought with 2nd-half surge

Local

Nederland man reportedly threatens to kill himself, every officer

Local

Miss Mexican Heritage Crystal Figueroa follows her dreams while paying tribute to community