A successful ground game has been a staple of the Shenango High football team under coach Jimmy Graham.
Wildcats lineman Jason Domenick is helping to continue that trend.
Last week, Shenango ran the ball 47 total times and rolled up 416 yards of total offense in a 48-6 WPIAL Class 1A Big Seven Conference home win over Northgate. The Wildcats didn’t throw a pass in the game, according to the official box score submitted by the team.
“Jason is a good leader for us,” Graham said. “He’s one of our senior linemen. He really gets after it. He’s a really intelligent football player. He’s a strong kid.
“The whole line played well that night and Jason did a good job opening some holes. We ran the trap very well. Him and his counterpart guard Trever (Valenti) did a really good job opening up some holes for our backs. Sometimes, when the running game is working as well as it was on Friday night, it’s really a matter of why do you change? We wanted to eat the clock and keep it on the ground.”
Said Domenick, “We were able to dominate all night. Everything worked really well. The whole line did a great job, we drove them off the ball a lot. We were able to dominate them every single play. After we started getting nine or 10 yards a carry, we started getting more confident. After we scored that first touchdown, we just went from there.”
Running the ball was just fine with Domenick, who is a 6-foot, 240-pound senior offensive lineman/defensive lineman.
“I like it a lot better than pass blocking,” Domenick said of run blocking. “It allows me to get real physical and lower my shoulders and drive them off the ball. Just get really low on them and not stopping your feet.
“I’m a little shorter than other linemen, so I have more leverage. There’s a lot of guys 6-3 or 6-4. So, I’m naturally lower than them. Once I start driving my feet I’m able to take them off the ball.”
Domenick wanted to take his game to the next level and he was prepared to put in the time.
“I lifted about six days a week. Sometimes I would go even twice a day, about 90 minutes each,” Domenick said. “I went to a few camps this summer, about five. I did pretty well.
“I put on a lot of weight in the offseason. I went from 215 to 240 or 245. That really helped me on the offensive line. I turned up my conditioning and drills because I was gaining weight. I started making sure my footwork and speed stayed on track.”
Graham took note of Domenick’s hard work in the offseason.
“He prepares his body,” Graham said of Domenick. “He’s a very intelligent football player. He does everything a coach could ask him to do.
“He’s extremely coachable. His first step is very quick. I think it catches a lot of opposing teams off guard. He’s a very quiet kid. He’s very polite. But, when he gets on the field, he’s a tremendous football player. He doesn’t do a lot with his mouth, but he does a lot with his actions.”
Domenick is listed as an offensive guard and defensive tackle.
“He also played center against Burgettstown filling in for an injured guy,” Graham said of Domenick. “He’s very versatile. He would really play any position that we need him to.
“He’s very explosive with quick feet. He uses his hands well. He has a nose for the ball.”
Graham said Domenick is a force up front on the defensive side of the ball as well.
“He’s very explosive; he has a quick first step and uses his leverage,” Graham said. “He uses his hands well and he defeats blocks.
“Defensive tackle is a tough position because you’re getting double teamed a lot. He’s just an all-around good football player. He hardly leaves the field. He leads by example.”
Domenick has his sights set on a collegiate career on the gridiron.
“I have two offers right now, Westminster and Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio),” he said. “I think I will continue playing football, no matter what level it is. I’m in contact with a few other schools, too.”