Coach Joel Allen’s 2017 edition, featuring a high-scoring offense behind quarterback Jeffrey Jackson and receivers Mozes Mooney and Jacob Jackson, Jeffrey’s brother, outscored its first seven opponents this season, 411-71. This, despite graduating several key seniors off last year’s CIF Division 3 championship team that went 14-1. Haley, playing both ways, helps anchor both lines.
“Even though I’m a junior, not named a captain,” says the 220-pounder, up from 165 pounds as a freshman due to the weight room and tasty chocolate protein shakes three times a day, “I feel I’m a leader on offense and defense. That consists of helping set the tone early in the game. I also think my role as a leader is not just for this year, but for all years, to mentor the younger players on what Bishop’s football is.”
Haley, personable and well-spoken, talks about the mentoring that alumni Sahil Sheth and Justin Woodley, the latter a close friend, provided for him as an underclassman. “They did it by showing me how to be successful on and off the field: watching film, learning how to read a defense. Also, giving me tips academics-wise: what classes to select, how to use my time well, living so far away (in the South Bay and having to commute).”
Says the history buff of his friendship with Woodley, a star football and basketball player who graduated last year, “We both lived down south. He drove me home after practice every day last year. I’m hoping maybe to join him at Columbia,” where Woodley was named “Rookie of the Week” for the Lions in mid-October after victimizing Penn with two interceptions. “He’s one of my really close friends.”
Haley, who relishes spaghetti with meatballs, true to his Italian-American heritage through his father John, has an international spirit via his mother Sahar, who is Chaldean and was born in Iraq before moving with her family to the U.S. in her childhood. King Nebuchadnezzar, in the Old Testament, is claimed by Chaldeans as one of their own. Yet, right now, Dom’s fascination is with American history, particularly the work of Thomas Jefferson as his AP U.S. History class works its way through the presidents.
“Jefferson kind of transitioned the politics,” says the multi-sport athlete, who also plays basketball, like his friend Woodley, and who played baseball as his spring sport as a freshman, then lacrosse last year. “He created the ‘Jeffersonian Republic’. The two presidents before him were Federalists. But Jeffersonian Republicans wanted more power for the states. Jefferson kind of pushed for equality for the states. He fought for our rights so that states wouldn’t have to give in to the federal government.”
Life philosophy? “Find a way.” “It was from our Little League World Series championship team from Eastlake (Haley was the starting right-fielder) in 2013,” says the eldest of three siblings, alongside Francesca, 10, and Enzo, 8. “On the field, find a way to win. Find a way to win that battle on the field. Off the field, find a way to be successful in the classroom. Get up a little earlier, go see teachers for extra help.”
The Eastlake team won the U.S. title, defeating Connecticut, then falling to Japan in the international game.