Truman varsity kicker Laney Smith surprised with DiPardo Spirit Leader award

Chiefs award Laney Smith
Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 20:58:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Truman High School varsity football kicker Laney Smith received a sweet surprise on Thursday.

Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Gary Spani and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud presented Smith with the DiPardo Spirit Leader award.

"My principal came in and got me from my class and I actually thought I was in trouble," Smith said.

Far from being in trouble, Smith is adding another award to her resume. In September, Smith was the KSHB 41 and HyVee Athlete of the Week.

Smith will lead Chiefs Kingdom with the beating of the drum before the start of the fourth quarter of the Chiefs game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

"It honors Tony DiPardo and family. It was a big part of the spirit of Arrowhead Stadium," Spani said. "Now we award and celebrate that every fourth quarter."

Smith was recognized in front of her family, senior teammates and coaches.

"That was probably the best thing that's happened to me this year," Smith said.

From one kicker to another, Stenerud told KSHB 41 that Smith's football story is similar to his own.

Stenerud holds the record for career field goals, 373.

Before kicking field goals through the uprights, Stenerud was a skier.

Smith played soccer all four years of high school and joined the Truman football team her senior year after kicking field goals for fun and realizing she was good at it.

"Now that I've met Laney, and that she went out and tried to kick a football, it reminds me a little bit of when I tried to kick a football at Montana State about 60 years ago," said Stenerud.