Photo by Heather Nelson
Ballard Wide Receiver Nate Rauda proudly wears the #1 jersey, and is confident his team will win the homecoming game this Friday.

Q&A with Ballard High School Football Player Nate Rauda

By Christopher Duclos

Homecoming week has just begun at Ballard High School. While the spirits are high on campus, the team prepares for a week 5 clash with the Newport Knights. If you’re a Beavers fan, you’re probably very excited for the matchup on Friday night.

Among those preparing for the game, there is senior wide receiver/safety Nate Rauda, who has been nothing shy of astonishing during his senior season for the Beavers. If you are attending the game, look for Rauda to be hauling touchdown passes down the field. He proudly wears the number 1 on his jersey.

Ballard News-Tribune reporter Christopher Duclos had the chance to talk with Rauda and ask some questions concerning himself as well as his excitement for the upcoming game.

BNT: What got you into football? How long has it been since you started?

Nate Rauda: I always loved watching football and playing pickup games as a kid. I started playing organized football in 7th grade for the Ballard Knights. I wanted to play as a little kid, but I had to wait until my parents would let me switch from soccer to football.

BNT: How far do you hope to take your talents in the athletics?

NR: I would love to play football in college. Of course, as a kid, you always dream about playing in the NFL, but realistically, I’m only focused on playing in college right now. I will think more into the future once I get to college.

BNT: To this day, what is your favorite part about playing football?

NR: I enjoy playing the games and the family type bond you build with your teammates over the season but there is no better feeling than winning. The best times are after the games when everyone in the locker room has that feeling.

BNT: What do you enjoy playing more -– Offensive or Defensive?

NR: I’m more comfortable at wide receiver because I’ve received a lot more coaching at that position but, I also enjoy defense because I like hitting people and being involved in all aspects of the game. I really enjoy scoring touchdowns!

BNT: What are some of your team and personal goals this year?

NR: Our team goal is always to make the playoffs. It has been a while since Ballard has made it in this tough division but we feel we have a great chance to make it this year. My personal goals are to help the team win as much as we can and to be named an all KingCo wide receiver. Another one of my goals is to have a great season so colleges offer me a scholarship.

BNT: Do you think getting to the playoffs and making a run at the championship is a realistic goal for this team?

NR: Playoffs are a realistic goal for this team if we can all stay healthy. I don’t want to go so far as to promise a championship because we have to focus on the goal for the playoffs first.

BNT: Excited for the homecoming game this week?

NR: Of course; the entire school is electric this week. Everyone is excited for the game and the Beavers have a lot of spirit for this week. Each day is a themed to dress up day and we expect a big crowd at the game. I am always pumped and excited for each game, but homecoming is a special week.

BNT: Now, about Newport, Is the team preparing any differently for them this week?

NR: We always adjust to our opponent’s strengths each week, so we have some changes to implement against Newport, but nothing too different. Newport is in our conference and just got ranked top 10 in the state this week. They will be a tough opponent but we feel confident that we can get a win.

BNT: How confident are you and the team about this game?

NR: We are very confident that we can start 2-0 in conference with this game if everyone on our team does their individual assignments. One of Coach Thomas’ greatest strengths is the game plan he develops with our coaching staff and the confidence he instills in us to win. We need to have a game that has every weapon working. If we have that, we are confident we can always win.

BNT: It’s really too bad that the Beavs got off to such a rough start. Are you confident that things will turn around? Why?

NR: We have no doubt in our minds we can turn this around. When watching our film of the first 3 games it is evident that our mistakes were all self inflicted. Coach Thomas always tells us, “We haven’t been beaten by our opponent yet, we beat ourselves.” We made a huge turnaround last week and we will carry that into this game.

BNT: When you aren’t working out or practicing, what are some of your biggest interests outside of football?

NR: I also am a starter on the varsity basketball team. I am very active during both football and basketball seasons and with school and practice I don’t have much free time. In the little time I have, I enjoy relaxing and watching TV and hanging out with my friends. In the summer I love to spend time outdoors and I go to Montana with my family for fishing and boating.

BNT: What would you say is the most important thing readers should know about Nate Rauda?

NR: As long as I can remember, I have always loved playing sports and growing up in the Ballard community –- I’m a Ballard Boy. I have a really close family that is very important to me. My family includes my mom and dad and older brother and also one of my best friends, our running back and corner, #2, Dominique Smith, who moved in with us last year.

BNT: Last question -- If you could say one thing to all the Beaver football fans what would it be?

NR: Thank you to Beaver Nation for supporting our team. We work very hard and always try to have an exciting team on the field for all the fans. Keep coming out to our games -– we appreciate it so much. It’s always great to be a Beaver!

I would like to also let everyone know how great Coach Joey Thomas has been to all of us at Ballard. He came in last year and began turning the football team around. He instilled confidence in all of us and brought a lot of spirit and pride to the entire school. My Pee Wee Coach Chris Complita told me when I was 12 years old that he would see me play on TV on Saturdays. Coach Thomas is the person that helped me realize that it is realistic for me and I can play at a high level in college. He has honestly changed my life for the better and given me the tools, assistance and confidence to go further in my life using football.

Notes:

Nate’s season totals in these past 4 games:

  • Offense – 13 receptions for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns
  • Defense – 36 tackles
  • Special Teams - 1 field goal block

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