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In defense: Hockinson linebacker loves his role

Jon Domingos and Hawks’ defense ready to shine

Even after winning a state championship last season, the Hockinson Hawks are still hungry, still motivated.

This week, they are even a little angry.

That is a good thing, according to linebacker Jon Domingos.

“We won the game, but we didn’t like how we felt with how we won the game,” said Domingos, a senior and one of the leaders of the defense.

Hockinson linebacker Jon Domingos is focused on helping his team make it back to the Class 2A state championship game. Domingos, a starter on last year’s title team, has turned into a leader this season for the Hawks. Photo courtesy of Jenny Ristau
Hockinson linebacker Jon Domingos is focused on helping his team make it back to the Class 2A state championship game. Domingos, a starter on last year’s title team, has turned into a leader this season for the Hawks. Photo courtesy of Jenny Ristau

The Hawks won their their 25th consecutive game, taking down Steilacoom 35-28 in the Class 2A state quarterfinals last week. It was a 35-7 game midway through the fourth quarter before the dominant Hockinson defense gave up three quick touchdowns.

“You have to remember but you have to forget about it,” Domingos said. “As a player, you have to think about when they were doing that onside kick, when they scored those touchdowns, ‘How do you feel right now?’ That’s not right. That’s not how we played all year. We don’t want to feel that again.”

It is that kind of thinking that helped Domingos into a leadership role. He has gone from admittedly not grasping what it meant to be a high school football player when he was a freshman to starting on varsity as a junior on a state championship team, to becoming the voice of the defense on a team trying to go undefeated again.

“I enjoy offense, but defense is so much more fun,” Domingos said, adding that he loves playing middle linebacker, reading the guards and trying to help everyone else get in the perfect position.

“Everyone looks up to you. They listen to what you have to say,” Domingos said. “It makes me happy the coaches see me that way, too.”

Face it, it is the Hockinson offense that gets most of the attention the past couple of years. But a team cannot win 25 in a row without a defense. This season, the Hawks gave up more than two touchdowns in just three games. Most of the touchdowns came long after the game was decided, too.

Still, the Steilacoom game, while maybe not a scare, certainly was an eye-opener for the group.

Next is a semifinal game against Liberty at 4 p.m. at McKenzie Stadium.

Hockinson linebacker Jon Domingos (42) goes in for a tackle in a game earlier this season. The Hawks, behind a stellar offense and physical defense, are 11-0 this season after winning 14 in a row last year. Photo courtesy of Jenny Ristau.
Hockinson linebacker Jon Domingos (42) goes in for a tackle in a game earlier this season. The Hawks, behind a stellar offense and physical defense, are 11-0 this season after winning 14 in a row last year. Photo courtesy of Jenny Ristau.

Domingos said the coaches believe that three-touchdown outburst will help the Hawks prepare for this week, and, they hope, the following week.

“Coach told us, ‘I feel you guys are going to play amazing on Saturday because you are going to have built-up anger from the last game,’” Domingos said.

The players have taken it to heart.

“We didn’t play our best game last week but we’re about to play our best this week,” Domingos promised.

A few years ago, Domingos never would have dreamed he would make such a declaration.

“As a freshman, I didn’t know what I got myself into,” he recalled.

He was called up to the varsity during the postseason to be on scout team.

“I remember watching and being amazed by everyone,” he said.

Couple years later, he helped win a state title.

Now, he is leading the charge to do it again. That charge, by the way, started long ago.

“It’s a grind,” he said, noting the 14-game season last year and then up to 13 this season because Hockinson had a bye. “Physically, it starts with weight training and getting your body ready for this.”

The 2017 team could celebrate last winter. The 2018 team had to get to work.

“From that time, the coaches knew it and the players knew it: The only goal was to go back and win it again,” Domingos said.

This was all new territory for the Hawks in 2017.

This year, with several players who got that experience last year, these Hawks know what they need to do in order to succeed.

In this 25-game streak, there have only been a few close games. Last week was not close, but then it was.

If anything, that result just motivated the Hawks even more.

“We’re really locked in right now, ready to go,” Domingos said.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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