Football fans always remember the guy who scores the touchdown or the defensive end who sacks the quarterback, strips the ball away and forces a key, game-changing turnover.
But the special teams specialists? Sometimes those guys get forgotten — unless they make a mistake. When they do their jobs, they’re often taken for grated even though they’re important, too, in the journey toward to Dome.
Thibodaux High School senior kicker/punter Peyton Domangue is one of the best specialists in the area — a guy who single-handedly changes games with the power and precision of his right leg.
For Domangue, this is nothing new. Kicking is in his blood. His uncle is former NFL kicker Richie Cunningham and his brother Ryan kicked at the collegiate level.
In a recent win against South Lafourche, Domangue made a clutch field goal and pinned the Tarpons deep in their own territory several times with punts. On Friday, he made three field goals, including a game-winning 42-yarder in the fourth quarter to help beat McDonogh 35.
He said his goal is to keep getting better and to help his team win any way that he can.
Domangue works at practice, but also tirelessly with his father Ricky, who has helped teach him the family craft.
“I’m just staying focused on getting better,” Domangue said. “I know my team needs me to step up and do my job, so that’s my focus on Friday nights — to do as good as I can to help our team win.”
Domangue is still relatively young to the craft.
He said he picked up kicking a few years ago, knowing that it was something others in his family had done.
“I tried it out, and stuck with it,” Peyton said. “I knew it was something that I could do because of all the support and help I had around me.”
Brother Ryan had a massive leg. At Terrebonne, he’d routinely boot kickoffs out the end zone, while sinking 50-plus yard field goals.
Peyton’s leg isn’t as strong yet, but he’s rapidly growing into his body. Those who coach him think he will continue to develop that power as he gets older and more experienced.
The game-winner was from 42 yards out, but Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said it would have been good from well over 50.
He’s pinpoint accurate. So far this season, he’s been on point with most of his kicks going right down the middle.
In the game with South Lafourche, he also showcased his punting with high-arching kicks that were accurate in their placement and just long enough to get deep into Tarpons’ territory, but just short enough to be downed before the end zone.
“It’s a luxury to have a guy like that,” Dugas said. “At the high school level, that’s a weapon. That’s something that really helps your team win games.”
Peyton said his goal is to get a spot at the next level, adding that he’s going to work as hard as he can to try and achieve his goals.
He said he wanted to thank his father and brother for their help, adding that he’s gotten so much better in such a short time. He believes the sky is the limit.
“I’m going to keep working and keep getting better,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 focus.”
SOME LOVE FOR THE LONG SNAPPER, TOO
Domangue is not alone in receiving praise for his efforts.
The kicker said he’s only able to be successful on Friday nights because of the work of his long snapper, sophomore Hunter Adams.
Adams is an unsung hero of Thibodaux’s team — all long snappers are.
Think about it — can you name a single NFL or collegiate long snapper? Most people can’t — even the most avid fans.
But those guys safely and accurately deliver the ball to kickers and punters, allowing them to get off their kicks throughout games.
The only time they receive any recognition at all is when a mistake is made and a kick is blocked — the most thankless job maybe in all of sports.
Adams said he knows that’s the life of a long snapper, but said he relishes it. So far, he’s been solid for the Tigers.
“It feels really, really good when you can contribute to helping your team win,” Adams said after the win against South Lafourche. “Tonight, our special teams were solid and that’s just a great feeling. I know when I’m out there, I have to do my job, but when it all comes together, it’s a great thing.”
When snapping for field goals, the long snapper has to block and protect rushers from the kicker.
But on the punt team, Adams actually snaps the ball, then sprints down the field to try and stop opponents from having a return.
Adams is just a sophomore and he also plays a little defense when not on special teams — a role that’s going to grow as he gets older.
Like Domangue, he said it’s his goal, too, to try and play at the next level.
“Anywhere,” he said. “I’ll play for any team anywhere. I just want an opportunity. Anything I can do to help this team and then another team after I graduate, I’ll do it.”