They love to kick: Domangue brothers bond with mutual love for kicking

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The brutal summer sun was in the midst of baking the grass of Vandebilt Catholic’s football field Friday afternoon, as a black pickup truck turned into the stadium’s otherwise empty parking lot.

With temperatures soaring deep into the 90s, it quickly became obvious why the stadium was uninhabited – this wasn’t the ideal time for outdoor activity.

“Is it hot enough, yet?” joked the younger of the two truck passengers as he quickly broke into a lather in his stretches.

“Just wait until August,” the other quickly retorted, as he stooped down to scoop up a football from the stadium’s blistering hot track. “Now, let’s get started.”

Louisiana’s summer is brutal to everyone this time of year.

But don’t tell that to Houma brothers Bryant and Ryan Domangue as they work together to polish their kicking prowess.

Together – that’s the only recipe for success for the tightly knit brother duo.

“We’re here for one another,” Ryan Domangue said. “We both have a lot of work to get done. But it’s a lot easier to do that when you’re not pushing alone and you have someone with you.”

The older brother – shooting for the pros:

With a lofty dream in his mind and a cerebral right leg at his disposal, Bryant Domangue’s mission this summer is to overcome the odds.

With little experience kicking at the high-school level and none in the college game, Bryant is trying to become a professional kicker.

He’s the first to admit the odds are not in his favor in his conquest, but he quickly adds the obvious – one will never know for sure until they try.

“I don’t want to look back one day and wonder what could have happened,” Bryant said. “I don’t want to be that guy and live that life.”

Don’t think the elder of the Domangue brothers is kidding – he really does have game.

It doesn’t take more than five minutes on the practice field to see that Bryant Domangue possesses plus-level accuracy on field goal tries.

He was hitting kicks from deep in field goal range Friday at Vandebilt – the first day of his workouts.

“Right now, from the 45 and in, I’m very accurate,” Bryant said. “It’s very seldom that I miss anything from that distance.”

The truth is that this underdog story has roots that trace all the way through Bryant Domangue’s life.

A nephew of former Dallas Cowboys kicker Richie Cunningham, Bryant said he has been kicking since he was a small child.

One would never be able to tell, as the older brother said he seldom kicked in high school, because his coaches opted to make him a linebacker instead.

“I was big, so they put me there instead,” he said with a laugh.

But when given the opportunity, he showed signs of having a blessed leg.

Together with Ryan, the brothers share laughter when recalling a story from Bryant’s prep days.

“My favorite kick was this one time in high school when I was kicking an extra point,” Bryant said.

“Is this the time when you smoked the guy in the helmet?” Ryan quickly interrupted with a laugh.

“Yeah, that’s it,” the older brother continued. “The defender broke through the line and I kicked the ball and it hit him in the helmet. As soon as I heard the thud, I assumed they blocked it – which is obviously a bad thing for a kicker. But when I looked up, I saw that the ball popped off his helmet so high that the ball still went through the uprights.

“So the defender is on the ground sort of dazed and we still got our extra point. I think I sort of realized then that I had a pretty strong leg.”

With little kicking experience in high school, Bryant Domangue opted to enroll as a student at UL-Monroe. Following college, he returned home and begun work at Oceaneering.

Now 24, he said he is taking a month off from his day job to chase his dream as he hopes to make an NFL roster this season.

The ambitious kicker has an NFL stamp of approval.

That was good enough to coax him into halting normal life and begin chasing his dream.

“My uncle told me I have everything in place to do this if I can boost my strength,” Bryant said. “And he’s been a straight shooter with Ryan and I both our whole lives. If he didn’t think we had it, he’d tell it to us straight.”

The little brother – readying for his next step

While older brother soaks in as much progression as possible in the next month, he won’t be alone in his efforts.

By Bryant’s side throughout the summer will be Ryan, a recent graduate of Terrebonne High School.

Also boasting the trademark Domangue leg strength, Ryan was a standout kicker and punter throughout his career at Terrebonne.

He also shined at a slew of elite kicking competitions throughout the country, impressing scouts with his powerful kickoffs and accuracy on both field goals and punts.

For his efforts, Ryan was afforded the opportunity to kick at the collegiate level.

He has committed to continue his career at UL-Lafayette – the first school who offered the budding kicker in his recruiting process.

“When you go somewhere and you walk into all of these facilities, you’re going to know what home is for you,” Ryan said. “When I walked into their campus and locker rooms and everything, I just felt at home. I just knew that was the place for me.”

Like older brother, Ryan’s been kicking for as long as he can remember.

The youngster boasts the title of being the first-ever youth football player to make a field goal in a TPR game.

“As soon as I did that, I realized this kicking thing should really became a little more than a hobby,” Ryan said with a smile.

The youngster rolled from youth ball to the prep level, where Domangue earned multiple honors with the Tigers.

At UL-Lafayette, Domangue said he will redshirt his freshman season to try and polish his mechanics.

From there, he said the school’s coaches have told him that he has an opportunity to play early in his career.

“Their guy now, my good buddy Brett Baer will be a senior next year,” Ryan said. “I’m going to walk on this first year and redshirt. The plan is for me to earn his scholarship once he leaves.

“I think I’m going to learn a lot from him and really just about everything. It’ll be a great experience for me. I can’t wait to get there.”

The brotherly bond – they are in this together

The truth is that if not working out to polish their kicking skills, the Domangue brothers would probably just be doing something else together.

Bryant said he and Ryan have always had a very close relationship.

Ryan took it a step further and said he and his brother are very spiritually connected.

Both Bryant and Ryan say the same biblical verse before each kick: Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Ryan shared a story from his junior high days that illustrate how tightly knit he and his brother are both on and off the field.

“I missed a field goal in junior high and I called my dad down to the field because I could just feel in my heart that something was wrong,” Ryan recalls. “As soon as he got down, I asked him about it and he told me, ‘They just called me. Bryant just tore his ACL playing intramural sports. He’s going to have to have surgery.’ It made sense then. I just knew something was going on.”

“Even when we’re not close together, we just have that bond to where we can feel when something is happened to one another,” Bryant added.

The older brother served as an assistant coach at Terrebonne for two years of Ryan’s career and said he attempted to help polish his skills and techniques.

He also had other reasons.

“It was just cool to be around him so often for such an important time in his life,” Bryant said.

Whether Bryant and Ryan’s football endeavors work out – that remains to be seen.

But no matter what, they will inspire one another until the end.

It is that togetherness that keeps the black pickup turning into the steaming hot football field each day.

“We’re here to try and make one another better – together,” Bryant said. “That’s what this is all about.”

Graduated Terrebonne High School kicker Ryan Domangue (left) and his brother Bryant pose for a photo at Vandebilt Catholic High School. The brothers are working hard this summer to polish their kicking craft. Ryan is set to enroll at UL-Lafayette, while Bryant plans to make a push for the professional level.