DALLAS -- There are all sorts of activities associated with the Oregon Bowl, which will be played June 30 at PGE Park in Portland.
Some of the state's finest Class 4A graduating senior high school football players will square off, representing the South and the North. But in the days leading up to the game itself, there will be a series of practices, dinners, banquets and other events for players and coaches.
All of which doesn't amount to a whole lot for Dallas' Jared Smith, one of three Dragons who will suit up for the North. Smith doesn't much care for banquets and dinners and such. Smith, as those who watched him as a Dragon likely will recall, is a gamer.
"I know there's a lot of stuff going on before the game," Smith said the morning of June 23 before leaving for Portland. "But I haven't even thought about that much. I'm ready for the game. I just really want to get up there and get in some football this summer. I just want to play the game."
Smith was a key performer for a Dallas team that came within one play of beating Tualatin for the Pac-9 Conference championship. The Dragons ended up second in the league and were ranked in the state's top 10 before losing to a powerful Churchill team in the second round of the playoffs.
Smith started at outside linebacker and tight end. He was one of the team's most aggressive defenders and probably its best blocking end.
He was named the Dragons' Most Valuable Player and was one of only four players (Jeff Benson, Tyler Lalack and Grant Boustead were the others) to earn a football varsity letter for a third consecutive year.
"Obviously, I think I had a pretty good season," Smith said. "I think I did some stuff that deserved mention throughout the state. It was nice to get that kind of recognition.
"I was pretty excited when I heard that I'd gotten picked (for the Oregon Bowl). I knew about the game and was really hoping I'd get to play in it."
Smith, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, was one of the team's most physical players. Despite a rather quiet demeanor, he also was one of its most respected leaders.
"Jared brought a whole lot athleticism, size and strength," Dallas coach Kevin Moen said. "He was able to play real tough on both sides of the football. He's a big, strong player, and he doesn't mind going out and blocking people. He's always willing to be involved on any play, offensively or defensively."
Smith will be joined in the Oregon Bowl by former Dallas teammates Lalack and Grant Moen.
"It's nice to be with friends and not be along up there," Smith said. "I've never seen that many guys from Dallas go (to the Oregon Bowl). I thought that even if I got to go, I'd probably be by myself. That wouldn't be near as much fun."
Shortly after the Oregon Bowl, Smith will travel southward to attend college and play football at Butte Junior College in Durham, Calif. The Dallas contingent at Butte also will include Lalack, Marshall Morrison and Nick Savage.
"I'm pretty excited to go there," Smith said. "I really want to be part of that team and help out down there. It's a well-respected junior college program. I'm really looking to take the two-year route and look to go on to a bigger school and hopefully relocate in California."
Before any and all of that, though, there is the Oregon Bowl. The all-star tilt also gives Smith one more chance to be coached by Dallas' Kevin Moen, who will assist North head coach Ken Potter from Jesuit.
"I thought it was really, really great," Moen said of learning he'd been picked for his first Oregon Bowl. "It's one of those things you don't always get the opportunity to do. I feel pretty privileged.
"One thing about it is that it's not a real-high pressure game or practice situation. We're going to have a lot of fun. They'll work hard at what they're doing over a five-day practice period, but it's all pretty low key."