Perfecting the position: Ferriday running backs providing one-two punch
Published 12:03 am Monday, October 13, 2014
Editor’s note: Perfecting the position is a seven-part series devoted to the best position units in Miss-Lou high school sports. Each Monday will focus on one position and the players from a school who have excelled at that position picked by The Natchez Democrat’s sports staff.
FERRIDAY — Trying to tackle Dontrell Domino is about as difficult as trying to catch Ronald Davis.
The Ferriday duo has been shredding defenses all season, and is arguably the most talented running back unit in the Miss-Lou.
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“Teams have to game plan for our 1-2 punch,” Ferriday assistant coach Charles Cothern Jr. said. “Everything looks good with them. They are very coachable and are looking forward to having a good district showing. Whatever we ask of those two kids, they will do it.”
Domino and Davis have accounted for 14 of the team’s 22 total touchdowns. But most importantly, they have been the leaders of the team.
“It feels good because they are counting on you,” Domino said. “It is your job to go out there and do what you’re supposed to do.”
While both have had major success on the field, their games are almost opposite. Domino is a driving force between the tackles, while Davis is elusive in the open field.
“I just go where I see open space,” Davis said. “My favorite place to run is on the outside. I just keep my eyes straight and get out there.”
Domino’s path is a little tougher in the trenches.
“You just have to keep your feet moving and hit the hole 100,” he said.
Domino said he would compare his game to the likes of Adrian Peterson.
“The quickness and vision he has, I want to be just like him,” he said.
Through five games, Domino has racked up a team-high 987 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Compared to other running back stables in the area, Domino’s numbers are among the best. Adams County Christian School’s Torrey Smith and Lester Wells have a combined 13 rushing touchdowns, while Cathedral’s Dee Fleming has 12 total touchdowns, rushing and receiving, through six games.
Domino’s production is nothing new for Cothern Jr., who said he’s been seeing it since Domino was young.
“We ask a lot out of him because he is a senior and has been here,” Cothern Jr. said. “He’s been playing since he was a freshman, so we expect big things out of him.”
Davis is second on the team with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown. But where Davis has done most of his damage is in the receiving category, hauling in a team-high 18 passes for 243 yards.
“You’ve got to have great hands if you’re a running back,” Davis said. “That is an extra threat and another thing teams have to focus on.”
Domino has also had success catching the ball with eight catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“It is important because our offensive scheme is for the quarterback to scan the field,” Domino said. “So for the running back to scat out, it gives the quarterback another opportunity to get the ball out of his hands quickly.”
Domino, a senior, and Davis, a junior, entered the season with lofty goals, but both are well on their way to achieving them.
Domino said he is shooting for 100 rushing yards a game, and he is currently averaging just under 200. While Davis said he hopes to be an all-purpose player, with 500 receiving and rushing yards as his motivation.
Despite both getting much of the glory, Domino and Davis credit their offensive line for a lot of their success.
“They know since they are younger, they’ve still got a lot to learn, but they’ve come in the weight room and hit it hard,” Domino said. “They just want to block for us, and they want to see their running backs succeed.”
Davis agreed that the big men upfront are paramount for the Trojan running game.
“They are coming along and getting better day-by-day,” he said. “We can’t do anything without them.”
Now, as the Trojans prepare to jump into the meat of their schedule, Domino and Davis know that if there is a time to shine, it is now.
“We need to finish the season strong,” Davis said.
“The first goal is for us to be district champions. That will motivate us to carry on the rest of the year,” Domino added.