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Dominick Jones, No. 10 Homewood-Flossmoor ready to explode

Quarterback Dominick Jones has only lost two regular season games over the last two seasons and coach Craig Buzea keeps using one word to describe his hopes for the offense this season: explosive.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Dominick Jones moves through drills at the Vikings’ practice.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s Dominick Jones moves through drills at the Vikings’ practice.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Dominick Jones was forced into the starting quarterback role two years ago. He was just a sophomore filling in for an injured senior and Homewood-Flossmoor coach Craig Buzea had to limit his playbook and use “kid gloves.”

Those kid gloves are off. Jones is now a senior, he’s only lost two regular season games over the last two seasons and Buzea keeps using one word to describe his hopes for the offense this season: explosive. The Vikings will start the season ranked 10th in the Super 25.

“Last year we opened it up a little bit more and this year we are doing some things with him that we haven’t done with a lot of quarterbacks,” Buzea said. “Just different concepts we are throwing at him and allowing him to do a lot more than we have in the past. For some reason his name has not been mentioned with a lot of the top quarterbacks. But I’m not going to trade him for anybody. He’s just one of those kids.”

Jones watched on television as Loyola won the Class 8A state title last season.

“No disrespect to Loyola or anything but I feel that we should have been in that situation,” Jones said. “We just let ourselves down. That goes on all of the players. That is my motivation to get to that point. The last two years the season has ended with me shocked sitting there on the field thinking that wow, I have to turn my stuff in. I know it is going to come to an end but why not end with a piece of jewelry on your finger?”

The Vikings averaged 36 points last season, but that’s nearly 10 points less than the last three years. A seasoned quarterback should lead to some big point totals in Flossmoor.

“Our only losses were to two teams in the final four,” Buzea said. “We expect to be in the final four. It’s hard to say you are 10-2 and disappointed but we shoot for the highest goal.We weren’t as explosive offensively last year as we have been in the past. We had to grind it out a bit more.”

Sean Allen, who averaged 8.5 yards a carry as a sophomore, will receive a lot more carries this season and is joined in the backfield by senior Phil Smith and junior Will Pauling. The offensive line is strong with Oregon recruit Marcus Harper and fellow seniors Denzel Bryant, Michael Ford and Steve McMullan.

The biggest preseason question mark is the defensive line, but the secondary is strong with three future college players and the linebacking group could be excellent, led by seniors Xavier Frazier and Xavier McKinney and standout sophomore Malyk Jones.

The Vikings are always fun to watch and the last few seasons the players have had strong, loud personalities. Frazier says the attitude is different this year.

“The last two years they were louder and more aggressive,” Frazier said. “We’re more of a passionate team. We know where we want to get to and we are determined to get there. It’s state, the ultimate goal.”

Homewood-Flossmoor has been consistently great (84-22) in nine seasons under Buzea. The Vikings have been knocking on the door for a state title but haven’t quite managed it. They lost in the Class 8A title game in 2015. The school’s only championship was in 1995.

“We will get over that hump,” Jones said. “We have a lot of leaders now. Last year we had one on offense and one on defense. This year we have multiple leaders who know what they are supposed to be doing and that is going to make all the difference.”

HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR SCHEDULE

Aug. 30 vs. TF North
Sep. 6 at Mishawaka Penn, Ind.
Sep. 13 vs. Andrew
Sep. 20 at Lockport
Sep. 27 at Lincoln-Way East
Oct. 4 vs. Sandburg
Oct. 11 at Lincoln-Way West
Oct. 18 vs. Bolingbrook
Oct. 25 vs. Lincoln-Way Central