Michael Konopasek, News 9
EDMOND, Oklahoma. – Two Edmond high schools are mourning the loss of a popular student athlete. Edmond North sophomore Ryan Smith died Wednesday night shortly after a trip to the hospital to mend a broken leg.
Ryan Smith played freshman football at Santa Fe High School before transferring to Edmond North High School in the fall. On Thursday night, members of Smith's Santa Fe family took time to remember a dedicated athlete.
Among the many traditions that mark the start of a high school football game is a somber moment Thursday at UCO's football stadium. That moment was accompanied by tears during a moment of silence before Santa Fe took on U.S. Grant High School.
Fans, friends, former teammates and coaches remembered the 16-year-old sophomore.
"Every day when you went in, he'd put a little smile on your face … some little thing he always did," said coach Joe Peeler, who coached Smith in three different sports.
Smith's teammates remember a kid who always had a lot of fun.
"He was a lot of fun to hang with and definitely good at football," said Santa Fe teammate Nicholas Rodr. "He was one of the bigger guys … a lot of fun."
Smith died late Wednesday just one day after he broke his leg during football practice at Edmond North. Students at Santa Fe say classmates who knew Smith well cried when they learned of the news.
"It was sad because whenever they would cry," said Santa Fe freshman Dakota Lichliter, "their friends would … be around them to take care of them. Everybody cares."
Students remarked on the overall mood at the school Thursday.
"It wasn't really the happiest of days to go to school," said Santa Fe freshman Mason Elliott.
Students at Santa Fe say an announcement was made over the school's intercom system to announce the passing. Grief counselors spent Thursday at Edmond North to help students cope.
"There wasn't one kid who didn't like him," said Peeler. "He was a good kid … real fun to be around."
Even with heavy hearts, Smith's former high school team won it's game the night after his death. There's a memorial fund for Ryan at Citizen's Bank at the Coffee Creek location.