Photos by Sue Rauda & Ed Tanaka
Left: Dominique Smith carries the ball for his former high school Franklin. Right: Smith a carry against the Roosevelt Roughriders.

Getting to know Ballard Runningback Dominique Smith

By Christopher Duclos

Last February, senior tailback Dominique Smith’s life had changed. Formerly from Franklin High, he was diverted from returning for his senior debut for the Quakers. Fortunately, the road of school did not end for Smith. Smith transferred to Ballard High school and suited up on game day for the red and black.

Growing up with senior wide receiver Nate Rauda, Nate and Dominique had always dreamed about playing together under the same colors in high school. That dream came true this season. Like a Hollywood script, the boys were united within Beaver Nation for their final year of high school football.

Dominique’s role on the Ballard offense at was to be a secondary-slot back, which would have provided Ballard with a monstrous one-two punch rushing attack as Dominique would split carries with Dominic King. This mixture of size and speed between the two backs would have been a hassle for opposing run defenses to defend.

But those plans had drastically changed when Dominic went down with a leg injury on the first play against Bishop Blanchet.

The Beaver Nation rallied behind Dominique, and in return he brought them a season to remember.

For his junior season at Franklin, Dominique made Metro Sound Division honors. He succeeded in making both the first team offense and defense for running back and corner back as well as being a co-defensive MVP. Smith proved his transition from Metro Sound to Kingco 4A by being awarded to the first team offense and the second team defense this season.

Concerning football, the season in reflection, and personal facts, Ballard News-Tribune sports reporter Christopher Duclos had the chance to catch up and exchange words with Dominique.

CD: Tell me about your transition from Quaker to Beaver. Ballard’s conference is one of the toughest in the State, how was it adapting from metro to 4A?

DS: It was interesting. From a Quaker to a Beaver changed my perception of the game of football. I guess you can say the competitiveness left a few battle marks. The conference lived up to its hype –- this conference is tough. The experience of the game play was one to remember, Kingco taught me take advantage of opportunities handed to you because they don’t come often. Also, that football is more than a game; it is life itself.

CD: How do you like being part of Beaver nation?

DS: Becoming a part of Beaver nation was almost like a dream come true. As many years as Nate Rauda and I sat and joked around about me moving in and going to Ballard, finishing my senior year with him was like a world full of fairytales. Everyone at Ballard accepted me and made me feel welcome. Becoming a Beaver was truly a blessing and I couldn’t ask for my senior year of football to end any better.

CD: What did you feel when King went down? Were you ready to carry the load as an every down back?

DS: As a young man, I always prepare for the worst, so when the worst happened, I was mentally locked in on my new objectives. The path was right in front of me, the next thing was to walk upon it ready for whatever the game threw my way and to give my team and my coaches everything I had in the tank.

CD: What about both sides of the ball? Playing both Cornerback and Running back is a lot of work.

DS: Playing both ways has always been an attribute of mine; I love both positions. I knew the consequences and repercussions all along of the positions. A lot of sprinting comes with the job so it was nothing really new to me. I will say that after every game, I was very sore and tired for several days. But, I love playing football and wouldn’t have it any other way.

CD: Every athlete has their pregame routine. What’s yours?

DS: I usually eat a lot of fruit before a big game to have lots of energy when it was time to strap it up. On the bus I use my Dre Beats to get in that zone and rerun the big plays over and over in my head. Dreaming about the big plays coming to reality when the lights turn on gets the train rolling.

CD: What got you into playing football?

DS: Ever since I held the pigskin at a young age, I knew I was in love. My uncle directed a little league football team which I entered at the age of 7. He talked my mom into actually letting me play and everything fell into place from then on.

CD: Looking back on the season, could you share any reflections for our readers?

DS: Even though the season didn’t go as planned, transferring from Franklin was a great move for me. The positive environment played a big role. Kept me on the positive route to do the right thing and make the correct decisions on and off the field. Life lessons learned for the future to come and it can’t get any better than that.

CD: What was your favorite game this season?

DS: I’d have to say my favorite game this season had to be the Redmond game because I felt for the first time that I did everything I could to help my team win even though we didn’t quite get the W. Usually I always feel like I could do more to contribute to my team even when I do play well, but from that game I felt like I became a Beaver and it was now my team.

CD: Now that the season's over its time for the next thing, college. Let’s just say that every college wanted you in the country, where would you choose to play?

DS: If every college in the country wanted me I’d honestly choose to take my talents to either Oregon or UW. The UW represents my home town born and raised and Oregon is just my dream school to attend. Everything about Oregon’s program fits everything about me. My body type, my abilities and it’s not too far from home.

CD: Non-football question, what are some of your biggest interests outside of playing football?

DS: I love to cook. I have the feel for becoming a chef one day. Cooking is usually my go to hobby. I like to cook meals for my family, both of them. It makes me feel good to make my fellow family members smile because of something you made. It floats my boat.

CD: What would you say is the most important thing readers should know about Dominique Smith?

DS: They measured my height, they measured my weight but they didn’t measure my heart. Nothing has come easy for me. In order to achieve something you’ve never had, you need to do things you’ve never done. Stepping out of your comfort zone to do what you want to do for yourself is something that I have had to do to be successful.

CD: if you could say something to the Beaver football fans, what would it be?

DS: To the Beaver fans, the more support towards the program, the better. It really means a lot to have the community supporting Ballard High School. I’ve always felt like Ballard is a home to me and I’m so glad to finally be here. Thank you to everyone who has helped me this past year makes the transition to a new school, football program and neighborhood. It’s great to be a Beaver.

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