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Smith keys historic Livermore run

Livermore quarterback Shaun Smith has 12 total touchdowns this season. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo
Livermore quarterback Shaun Smith has 12 total touchdowns this season. Cliff Jackson / Staff Photo

Livermore senior quarterback Shaun Smith was always a leader.

Whether it was in football, basketball or baseball teams growing up, the coaches saw he had the command of a locker room. They saw he could guide a team they wanted, with his competitive attitude and ability to draw people close.

“I would say my dad definitely put that in my mind early on,” Smith said. “Ever since I was in fifth grade, sixth grade I always had a leadership role on my teams, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball. Him and a lot of my other coaches throughout the years really made it a big deal for me to take charge and be a leader on the team.

“It’s shown all throughout my high school years, too.”

In high school, Smith has only become a bigger leader for the Cowboys, leading the way for one of the most incredible turnarounds in the whole region.

For years, Livermore was at the bottom of the grueling East Bay Athletic League. It would go from successful non-league slates to struggling against formidable foes in the EBAL schedule.

Smith sought to change that, and changing that is just what he did.

He threw for 14 touchdowns last season, engineering Livermore to a 6-5 season and a second place finish in the EBAL Valley Division behind Amador Valley while earning honorable mention all-league recognition.

It’s only been more for Smith this year, as he makes little-to-no mistakes on the field, throwing for 366 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. He had just two incompletions in a 42-0 drubbing of Dougherty Valley.

“I trust my guys,” Smith said. “I know play to play if I don’t have it this play, I know (running back) Dom (Belluomini) can get on the run. I know the next play I can throw it to (tight end) Matt (Polaski) or (receivers) Dylan (Prusso) or Tyler (Martin). I have my weapons, and I’m not trying to force things, especially with how good our defense is. I want to score as smart and as much as we can so our defense doesn’t have to do a whole lot of work.”

On top of that, Smith is running his way past opposing defenses, showcasing hsi 4.75-second 40-yard dash speed.

His 215 rushing yards are the second-most on the roster, while his four rushing scores lead the way. All of that speed was on display in an 80-yard touchdown run against Amador Valley when nobody could catch up to him.

“I’ve been working read-option since sixth grade,” Smith said. “My dad was my LJFL coach, and we really worked the read-option a lot, so I’ve been making those reads since I was really little, and it’s always been a key part of my game as a quarterback to being able to move on the run. No matter the offseason, I’ve always worked on running and all that. It’s just become a big part of my gameplan.”

Lewis & Clark and Whittier – both Division III programs – have offered Smith, who said he plans to make a decision after the season.

“They’re both great schools,” Smith said.T”he coaching staff is really bought into their team. I really like the coaching staffs. I’m still weighing my options right now and I’m going to see how the season plays out and see what I get. I’ll make a decision at the end of the season.”

Because, right now, all Smith is focused on is history.

Livermore is 4-0. It beat both Pleasanton schools. It is in the driver’s seat for a league title.

So, all he wants is to hang the program’s first league title banner in almost three decades, and he and the Cowboys have a golden opportunity to secure a crown when they host Foothill at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“That’s all on my mind right now,” Smith said. “It’s all on everyone’s mind I feel like. We just want to go 1-0 each week and we want to finish the season as best as we can and really do it for the school and the city.”

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