Haughton senior football player Christian Smith passed away suddenly Monday night, according to a post on the Haughton High School Football Facebook page.
“We are saddened to share the passing of senior defensive lineman Christian Smith who died suddenly last night,” the post stated. “Please keep his family and friends in your prayers during this difficult time.”
Smith was one of two returning starters on the defensive line.
He was also a standout track and field athlete. He won the shot put in the Bossier Parish Championships meet last spring, helping Haughton finish runner-up.
“Christian was a kid always smiling,” Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton said. “He was a man of few words but many smiles is what I would say about him. The guy didn’t talk much. He was very quiet. He kept to himself a lot but was always smiling. Loved football, loved being around his teammates. It will be hard for us to move on from that.”
Brotherton said this afternoon’s football practice will be unlike any other he’s had to conduct.
“I don’t even know what the blueprint is or what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “We don’t even know yet. … It’s 80 kids that all had a different relationship with him. They all grieve in different ways.
“Some of them the best thing to do is probably to just plow forward and move on. But then some of them aren’t going to be able to handle that. It’s pretty delicate for us right now. We’ll navigate it the best we can. The good thing is we have good men coaching them that are good leaders. We’ll figure out what the best thing to do is for our program and to honor Christian too.”
Brotherton said counselors are available on campus for students.
“We’ve done all that this morning and that will continue throughput the day,” he said.
“Kids are pretty resilient. They’re going to seem fine one minute. The next minute they’re upset. Of course, I’m the same way. I don’t know if there is a blueprint of how your supposed to handle it.”
Brotherton said Smith played in the season opener Sept. 3 but did not play last week against Northwood because of a non-football related leg issue he had been dealing with since last year.
Haughton is scheduled to host Booker T. Washington on Friday night.