Laurel Highlands hasn't had much to boast about in its football program's history, making the WPIAL playoffs only eight times since starting play in 1966 after North Union and South Union merged. But 24 years ago, Laurel Highlands had a running back who had one of the greatest seasons in WPIAL history.
Jim Smith's name was pretty common, but his talent wasn't. In 1989, he became the first running back in WPIAL history to rush for 2,000 yards in the regular season when he finished with 2,026 and led Laurel Highlands to a WPIAL playoff spot. A 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior, Smith also had a memorable game as a senior against Southmoreland when he rushed for 413 yards on 45 carries and scored six touchdowns in a 46-25 victory. The 413 yards was a WPIAL single-season record at the time.
Smith signed with West Virginia University after his senior season but never made it to WVU because of academic problems. Smith died in a shooting a few years after graduating from Laurel Highlands.
Smith's coach at Laurel Highlands was Mike Bosnic Sr., whose son, Mike Jr., is the coach at Washington High.
First Published October 4, 2013 4:00 AM