MANCHESTER – Brandon Domeyer remembers how much his father loved watching him play athletics.
No matter what sport Carl Domeyer was always there supporting his kids.
“He never missed a football game. He never missed a baseball game,” said Domeyer, a West Delaware senior and youngest of his family’s five children. “I knew how much he loved to watch me play.”
Unfortunately, a fatal accident in February 2009 took Carl’s life before he could watch his son become one of state’s top running backs and leading rusher in West Delaware history. Brandon Domeyer will look to add to his successful career on the field for the Hawks (10-2) Class 3A state football playoff semifinal game Monday against Sioux City Heelan (11-1) at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Domeyer said all his father wanted to do is watch his youngest of five children play high school football.
“Carl loved going to all the kids’ sporting events,” said Karen Domeyer, Brandon’s mom. “That was his favorite thing to do.”
But, one evening when Karen and Brandon returned with a friend from the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines tragedy struck the Domeyers. Winter weather caused problems as they tried to pull their car into their rural driveway. As Brandon assisted his father getting the car pulled in, another car came over a nearby hill, lost control and struck Carl while on foot. He died instantly.
“It was so split second,” Karen Domeyer said. “It was a real fluke thing.”
Even though the accident took away one of his biggest fans, Domeyer still receives inspiration from the man that was there to cheer him on from the stands. It helped drive him as he trained to become a successful athlete, earning all-district baseball honors and rewriting the school’s record book for rushing.
“Everyday waking up when we had to go lift I’d think of him and it would help motivate me to get better,” Domeyer said, “and make him happy.”
West Delaware Coach Doug Winkowitsch described Domeyer as resilient and the pain was eased by those that surround him. He said the Hawks football family was affected by the loss.
“When those things happen you have to have great support around you,” Winkowitsch said. “I think he has tremendous support from his family and from the whole West Delaware community and coaches.”
Karen Domeyer said many of the other parents have been at her family’s side, including them in various activities.
“We’ve gotten close,” Karen Domeyer said. “They’ve been very good with me and our family since Carl passed away.”
West Delaware built a 7-foot brick wall, which serves as an entrance to the football field along the south end zone. Part of that wall includes a block dedicated to Carl that says, “In Loving Memory of Carl Domeyer.”
Learning about the memorial plans was exciting to Domeyer. He received a boost when he passed it on his way to the field for the Hawks’ home games.
“When Coach Wink first told me they want to do that I thought it was awesome,” Domeyer said. “Seeing that before every game is a huge motivation. I know he’s watching me and that helps a lot.”
Domeyer, who was voted Homecoming King, excels outside of athletics as well. He owns a grade-point average around 3.6.
“Once you meet him he’s a terrific kid,” Winkowitsch said. “You really like him because he’s a great young man.”
A young man who still has strong supporters who watch him play. Karen Domeyer attends games and tosses candy to the crowd after Hawk touchdowns and Brandon’s 4-year-old niece, Taylor is fanatic about cheering on her uncle and the rest of the team.
“I’ve got to say she’s his biggest fan,” Karen Domeyer said. “He says he can hear her cheering.”
Domeyer has given his mom a workout throwing tootsie rolls after TDs. Entering Monday’s semifinal, Domeyer has 29 touchdowns, including 27 rushing. Both are school records and his 45 career scores is a West Delaware record. More impressive are his average statistics, rushing for more than 128.2 yards a game and scoring about 12.5 points. His 176 points this year is a Hawks single-season best.
“It’s been a great year,” Domeyer said. “All the credit goes to the offensive line. Without them, I couldn’t make anything happen. They’ve played great all year.”
At 6-foot, 195 pounds, Domeyer is a big back and a load for defenders to bring down. He fits perfectly in West Delaware’s physical style offense.
“He’s a physical runner,” Winkowitsch said. “he brings a great attitude every day and is always doing things right.”
Domeyer’s name is plastered all over the West Delaware record book. Domeyer’s 1,660 is second in school history for rush yards in a season, but he’s become the Hawks’ most productive ball carrier, rushing for 2,820 yards. He’s ran the ball more than any other Hawk in history and with his first carry against Heelan, he’ll surpass Alex Boom’s single-season record of 290 carries.
He also ranks among the leaders in numerous categories, including rush yards in a game and touchdowns in a game. Individual feats don’t mean much unless it translates into team success.
“The first focus is on winning. It’s a team sport,” Domeyer said. “I wouldn’t care if I had 20 yards rushing as long as we won I’d still be happy.”
Happy would be an understatement if the Hawks could pull off a win over No.5 Heelan. Playing at the UNI-Dome and winning a state title as been an aspiration for the West Delaware seniors.
“We’ve been waiting a long time to get to the Dome,” Domeyer said. “We’ve been caring about this since we were kids.
“It’s one of the biggest dreams we’ve had.”
Winkowitsch said his team has improved each week, especially on the defensive side after a Week 6 loss to Decorah. The Hawks will need to be at their best, playing physical football.
Heelan is extremely balanced offensively,” Winkowitsch said. “We’ve got to play solid defense and try not to give up too many big plays. Offensively, we’ve got to continue to do what we do and get first downs to keep moving the ball.”