February 22 – Happy Birthday Justice Smith

jsmithIt was the most often asked Saturday morning question in Amsterdam during those four not-so-long-ago football seasons. “Did you see what Justice did last night?” He remains to this day, the very best player I’ve ever seen play football at Lynch Stadium and I’ve been watching the Rugged Rams play pretty regularly for the last half-century. When Justice Smith ran he glided and when he was going full speed, it honestly looked as if all the other players on the field were moving in slow motion. What made him the best of the best however, was his ability to combine that speed with power. The kid was unbelievably strong. The first time I realized how strong was during a sectional game AHS was playing against Colonie in what I believe was Justice’s freshman season. I was standing along the end zone fence on the west end of the Lynch field and Colonie had driven to the Rams’ goal line. At the time, Chad Dukes was one of Section II’s best running backs. Colonie ran Dukes on a sweep to Justice’s side of the field and Smith met him head on and put him flat on his back. Standing just ten yards away from the play at the time, I can still remember the shattering sound of that hit and Duke’s groan at impact.

On his first ever play from scrimmage as a freshman in 1988, he took the ball 79 yards for the score. He just kept going from there. He played …

You can read the rest of this story in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

3 thoughts on “February 22 – Happy Birthday Justice Smith

  1. I thought I was the only one that thought Justice was as good a defensive back as he was a tailback. I remember him hitting a CCHS runner so hard by the sidelines that the kid flew into the snow fence some 25 feet from the field. A clean but devastating hit. Ronnie Lott-like.

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  2. Have great memories of Justice. He played on the same Little Giants team as my son, Dan. (the team went undefeated). So I was able to watch him grow up, and blossom. I was in standing along the end-zone fence (think it was v Gloversville) when as a freshman he got the ball on the first play from scrimmage. Took a couple of stutter steps … and was gone. I mean gone. 80-yard TD. I’d seen that play many times when he was playing Little Giants. He could run like the wind. A great heart (which he showed at a track meet in his senior year). Justice was running the last leg of a relay, and took the baton well behind the field. He didn’t win, but made up a lot of ground. And ran like he was going for first place. The whole race. tb

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