VISALIA - When reflecting on his playing days for the Selma High School football team, Jordan Dominguez described the time as “amazing” and truly something he would never forget.
“Hearing all the fans and feeling the energy that Selma had throughout the whole town even when it wasn’t game day,” Dominguez said. “Everyone was excited for Friday to come, it felt really good.”
Dominguez is currently in his final year playing linebacker for the College of the Sequoias football team. His 27 tackles is the second most on the team. Two of his former Selma teammates - Joel Aranda and Sergio Pena - also are currently on the Giants roster.
All three guys were part of the 2016 Valley championship team at Selma, which was one of the most successful seasons in recent memory for the football program. That year the Bears finished with a 13-1 overall record and went 5-0 in the Central Sequoia League en route to a league title. The only loss Selma suffered that year was a 28-27 defeat to Bakersfield Christian in the CIF Division 4-AA State semifinals.
“Guys like that are the reasons why we went 13-0 and won a [Central] Section title,” Selma head coach Matt Logue said. “It meant everything to them. They put in so much time, work and dedication.”
Dominguez, Aranda and Pena were graduates of the 2017 class at Selma High.
Dominguez and Aranda have played together on the same team since childhood except in 2014. That year, Dominguez was a member of the Selma football varsity squad. After this season, both guys will officially go their separate ways, but that won’t stop them from pursuing their goals. Both want to transfer to play for an NCAA Division I program once their careers at COS are done.
“I think both of them are quality kids first and foremost,” COS Giants head coach Joe D’Agostino said. “They come from good families that are supportive in their efforts. I think both of them are hardworking kids that are low maintenance.”
“When you get to college, you want to be low maintenance, high productivity and I think the both of them have the capability of that. You don’t want someone to come in and be high maintenance, so both of them are old-fashioned hard working tough kids and that’s what you want to build a program around.”
In 2017, Dominguez played in eight games for the Giants while Aranda took a year off from football and school for personal reasons.
At the time, Aranda said he wasn’t “in the right place” to play football and go to school, but that year away from both was “beneficial” for him.
“That year off made me realize that's what I should be doing,” Aranda said. “I should be going to school, I should be playing football because I’m too young to not do this. I think that year off was beneficial to me. It kind of opened my eyes up.”
In his first year at COS, Aranda’s playing career as a Giant is not going the way he would have imagined it would start. He hasn’t been on the active roster so far, due to a hamstring injury he suffered during a scrimmage.
Now that he’s put last year behind him, Aranda’s current goal is to get fully healthy and step on the field for COS this season.
“I’m just getting healthy, I’m trying to get better as best as I can,” Aranda said. “I’m just ready to get an opportunity.”
During his time as a Selma Bear, Aranda contributed as a running back and cornerback. As a senior in 2016, Aranda accounted for 796 total offensive yards (485 rushing, 311 receiving) and had a team leading three interceptions and seven passes defended.
“It’s always been my favorite position to play,” Aranda said about playing as a defensive back. “I like being on the defensive side.”
Dominguez was also a contributor on offense at Selma High School. During his time as a Bear, he rushed for 44 career touchdowns and 2,442 yards. In 2015-16, he had back-to-back seasons of scoring 20 or more rushing touchdowns.
On defense, Dominguez had 244 career tackles and led the team in the category for three straight seasons in 2014-16.
Despite his success as a high school running back, Dominguez decided to stick with playing linebacker at the next level.
“I’ve always been an aggressive type of football player,” Dominguez said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love running the ball and I love scoring touchdowns, but it’s always a great feeling when you could cause havoc in the backfield.”
As for Dominguez’s future, he hopes to accomplish his dream and play division I college football in 2019.
“I always wanted to play at the four-year level,” Dominguez said. “That is a really big plan of mine after this season and we'll see where it goes, but I’d love to be a [Fresno State] Bulldog. I’d love to play anywhere that gives me an opportunity.”
Aranda will have to wait another year to have his Division I goals come to fruition since he’s just started his junior college journey. As for Aranda and Dominguez’s teammate Sergio Pena, he’s redshirting his sophomore season, which will give him an extra year of eligibility. He did however play as a freshman in 2017, catching 13 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
D’Agostino expects great things from the former Selma receiver next season.
“He’s a great kid,” D’Agostino said about Pena. “We’re redshirting him because we’re so deep at wide receiver and we had a couple of division I bounce backs at wideout. So we felt like a year in the weight room could really help Sergio develop.”