McALLEN — Thomas Domian has spent most of his football career in the trenches. Since first stepping onto the gridiron in third grade, Domian has seen action on both the defensive and offensive line, playing every position on both sides.

Domian made the permanent move to left tackle going into his eighth-grade season, despite learning early on the lack of recognition earned by lineman.

“You have to be strong and mentally prepared,” Domian said. “I’m used to it because I’ve been playing the position for so long. Some guys talk about not getting the recognition. The recognition I get take is from seeing my running backs get touchdowns or rushing for 1,000 yards. That’s all I need.”

Domian made his varsity debut last season as a sophomore, starting at left tackle for the Mustangs. This year, the 6-foot-2 junior emerged as a leader among one of the Valley’s most dominant offensive lines, helping the Mustangs gain more than 4,000 yards on the ground.

For that, he has been named The Monitor’s All-Area 2021 Football Offensive Lineman of the Year, serving as the anchor for one of the Valley’s most intimidating front five.

“At first, I was in disbelief when my coach told me,” Domian said. “Out of all the linemen that could have been chosen, they chose me. I was just happy and told my parents.”

Despite earning the award, Domian remains humble in accepting the recognition, giving credit to his brothers in the trenches for his and the Mustangs’ success.

“The key was all of us communicating,” he said. “There wasn’t a single down where we wouldn’t be talking. We would go back to the huddle and talk about what we needed to do or go to the sideline and talk to our coach.”

Thomas is the third Domian to come through McAllen Memorial, with his brothers, Daniel and Tres, both suiting up for the Mustangs.

Tres, the eldest of the group, started at safety under then-head coach Bill Littleton between 2015-17, earning all-district honors as a senior. Meanwhile, Daniel took the field as a defensive end during his junior year in 2018, before finishing his career as an all-state left tackle as a senior.

Watching his brothers play for the Mustangs helped mold him as a player, Domian said, taking three key lessons from them.

“They both started since their junior year,” Domian said. “That just pushed me to start as a sophomore and start playing to get as many awards as they did.

“They taught me to be humble, don’t be cocky and play every down like it’s your last. I watched my brothers play their last game, both of them. I saw how sad it made them, so I try to play every down like it’s my last.”

For McAllen Memorial head coach Moses Patterson, Domian’s technical work on the line has been a key component to him being successful, lining up at various spots throughout the season for the Mustangs.

“He’s such a technical worker,” Patterson said. “It’s all about technique for him. He’s looking for little things. He’s a quick study. He absorbs comments and knowledge and all that stuff. He wants to be the best and give you his best. It’s just little things like head placement, quick feet and all those things that make him a great offensive lineman.”

Domian’s versatility was a key to the Mustangs’ offense this year, Patterson said, expecting big things out of his left tackle going into his senior year and beyond.

“Thomas has a bright future ahead of him,” Patterson said. “He’s going to go on and play at the next level. There is no doubt in my mind about that as versatile as he is. … Just him knowing the game and ins and outs of what it takes to play at center, guard, tackle or just on the offensive line in general, it’s made him versatile. We always have the term athlete for those skill guys that you can move around, but I’m a big component of offensive line play. Having someone like Thomas is a big piece of the puzzle for us.”

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