This weekend has been about family for Pittsburg Colgan football coach Chuck Smith and his son, Frontenac coach Mark Smith.
The importance of family to Chuck is evident as he calls his seven children and his wife his eight best friends. So while he and his son’s teams played on Friday night — Frontenac won 26-25 in overtime — and while Chuck and Mark each focused on readying their teams, they made sure to find time for family.
“I have seven children and all seven are coming home for the game, and that makes this a good thing,” Chuck said. “They’re there for Mark and they’re there for me. I feel that our family is just real close. It’s a good thing for that.”
Mark, 26, talked politics and football with his brothers on Thursday after Frontenac’s pep rally and planned to have lunch with the family today.
Focusing on family in the week leading up to the game was good for both Smiths, but it wasn’t easy to prepare for each other.
“It’s a bad thing because someone will win and someone will lose,” Mark said. “I know how hard he works and how hard me and my coaches work. Someone won’t be happy, and we’ll get better from what happens.”
Frontenac trailed 10-0 before pulling out its first win on a missed extra point in overtime, while Colgan suffered its first loss.
Chuck, who is 306-64 with five state titles, was in a similar situation when he coached against his brother, Jim, Atchison’s coach.
“They came down here and they could have beat us,” said Chuck, whose team moved up to Class 3A this season. “They kind of stubbed their own toe. We got together afterward, but you know, a coach puts so much time into coaching, that being with him after a game he could have won, it wasn’t fun.
“… This is a good thing, but I’ll be glad when it’s over.
“If we win, he’s 0-4 and he feels terrible because he came in with high thoughts and aspirations. And if he wins, it will be a great upset and people will say, ‘Well, coach, what’s the deal here.’ It’s kind of a no-win.”
Of Chuck’s seven children, only Mark is coaching. Chas is a senior safety at Pittsburg State.
Mark becoming a coach wasn’t a surprise. He went to practices and was the team’s ball boy.
“When he was my ball boy in seventh and eighth grades, he knew everything I was going to call,” Chuck said. “He knows the game.
“People have said, ‘he’ll know everything you do.’ Yes, but he has to stop it…. Someone said, ‘Well, he’s using some of your stuff.’ Well, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t.”
While father and son met after the game, it was brief.
The rest of the weekend was the time to catch up and put the game behind them.
Kinnamon completed 22 of 26 passes with four touchdowns.