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Durango football player Smith, 17, dies following car accident

Durango High football standout Donovan Smith died Thursday following a single-vehicle accident.

Las Vegas police spokesman Jay Rivera said a passerby reported the accident, which occurred at West Hacienda Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard, at 9:25 a.m.

Police responded and found Smith, 17, unconscious behind the wheel. He died en route to the hospital.

"What we’re being told is we lost one of our own in a car accident," Durango athletic administrator Tim Jackson said. "We lost a wonderful young man."

Rivera said that the minimal amount of damage to the vehicle, which had struck a wall, wasn’t consistent with a fatality due to the collision, and the coroner will determine cause of death.

Smith, a senior, scored 14 touchdowns last fall for Durango, helping the Trailblazers to a 7-4 record.

He rushed for 760 yards and caught 28 passes for 535 yards while lining up at receiver, running back and quarterback.

"I’m almost numb," Durango coach Gary Maki said. "It’s so hard to believe, because he’s such a great kid. He had real good grades, just a polite kid, comes from a good family. It’s just totally shocking."

Smith also excelled at defensive back, where he made 59 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. He was a first-team All-Southwest League pick at defensive back and made the second team on offense as an athlete.

Smith at one time had a scholarship offer from Southern Utah and also received interest from San Diego but had not signed to attend college.

Maki said staff at Durango did not receive word of Smith’s death until the end of the school day but that counselors will be available for Smith’s teammates and others struggling to deal with his death.

"Some of them are handling it pretty hard as expected," Maki said. "If we stick together as a team and pull each other through it, we’ll get through it.

"We just lost one of our brothers."

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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