VANCOUVER — Notre Dame Jugglers head football coach Denis Kelly always knew his starting quarterback was a big, strapping kid.
Turns out, as the Jugglers prepare to open the 2021 season Friday night (7:30 p.m.) at Burnaby Lakes against Coquitlam’s Centennial Centaurs, that Aiden Domino is even bigger than previously advertised.
Add to the fact that the Notre Dame senior pivot embraces the other half of his rare two-way football identity as that of an every-down defensive end, and you’ve got a player who seems uniquely poised to open eyes.
Domino, for whatever reason, was listed over the summer as standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds
Yet when Varsity Letters contacted him Wednesday evening to chat about the upcoming season, the soft-spokenDomino was quick to offer an amendment to his actual dimensions.
“Well, 6-4, 220 is actually my Grade 9 height and weight,” Domino reported. “Since then I have grown to 6-5, 240.”
All of that is sure to be music to the ears of Kelly, who not only loves the physical nature Domino brings regardless of which side of the ball he’s lining up on, but has had a sneaking feeling that his quarterback was a little more imposing than originally listed.
“I look at him and every day he seems to be getting bigger,” laughed Kelly. “He is just one of those guys… he’s just plain thick, thick right through his entire body. He plays defensive end so he’s used to being physical.”
At which time, the veteran coach Kelly, whose mind is a virtual rolodex when it comes to finding comparables, was quick to offer one from a classic era of the game.
“He reminds me of a guy named Joe Kapp,” Kelly says of the unforgettable former B.C. Lions’ 1964 Grey Cup quarterback, who was lauded for his toughness and continued to enjoy tremendous success after he was traded between leagues to the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
“(Domino) just fires it, he doesn’t care if he has the laces or not,” observed Kelly. “He just takes it and hucks it down the field, which is basically what Kapp did.”
Domino was thrilled to get the chance to break the huddle and play within the rhythm of a ‘real’ game recently when the Jugglers hosted Terry Fox at their new on-campus field for a scrimmage.
Kelly, however, informed that difficulties have surfaced which may prevent the new field from being used for perhaps a few more weeks.
Foam padding needs to be installed for safety around the cement perimetre of the end zones, and along part of one sideline, but Kelly says the order has been inexplicably delayed.
Plans had originally called for Friday’s game against Centennial to be the field’s official christening.
Whatever happens, and wherever his team plays, Domino will be there to provide a critical presence on both offence and defence, along with other Jugglers teammates like Antonio Conte, Massimo Ryan. Luca Pante and Aiden Thomas.
And how might he evolve positionally after high school?
“I have been thinking about that a lot since it’s my last year and recruiting is firing up,” Domino explained. “Between quarterback and defensive end, it’s tough to choose because I love both equally. I’ve weighed the pros and cons and it’s pretty equal.
“I was also thinking maybe tight end or h-back, but it’s really up to the university where I would end up playing.”
Aiden Domino, like every other B.C. high school football player, is just happy the kick-offs are now for real.
10 a.m. — Handsworth at Carson Graham
12:30 p.m. — W.J. Mouat at Robert Bateman
1:30 p.m. — Mission at Langley (McLeod Stadium)
2:30 p.m. — Seaquam at Sullivan Heights
3:30 p.m. — Holy Cross at Abbotsford
6 p.m. — Mt. Boucherie at Sardis (Exhibition Stadium), Ballenas at Belmont (Goudy Field), John Barsby vs. Mt. Douglas (Nanaimo Dist.)
6:30 p.m. — Rutland vs. Vernon (Apple Bowl)
7 p.m. — Earl Marriott at Terry Fox (Percy Perry Stadium)
7:30 p.m. — Centennial at Notre Dame (Burnaby Lake), Lord Tweedsmuir at New Westminster (Mercer Stadium)
1:30 p.m. — South Kamloops at South Delta, G.W. Graham at St. Thomas More.
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