BROCKTON – On the Brockton High football team, every player has a different role.
Some are seen front-and-center, chest-pumping in the end zone after rushing home a touchdown. Others take pride in excelling more subtly, hiding somewhere within the limelight cast upon their teammates.
Count senior kicker Jack Dumas as a perfect fit for the second category. He spends a bulk of his time during games distant on the sidelines alongside a plastic tee, perfecting his kickoff form while keeping his leg warm and stretched out.
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Inside the soft-spoken, two-year varsity player resides a multi-dimensional athlete that very few people know about. Dumas, a longtime speedcar racer, competes in the Pro 4 Modified division all around New England.
But he’s not done there. Dumas is also an accomplished taekwondo competitor with success across not only Massachusetts but New York and New Jersey, as well.
“I find it fun,” said Dumas. “I mean, I find it boring to focus on only one sport.”
A third-generation driver, Dumas made his debut in the Pro 4 Modified division in 2021. He won his first race at Hudson Speedway in New Hampshire, and this year, he has four podium finishes and a signature win at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire, to his name.
Draped in the Brockton High colors and Boxer logos, Dumas’ Pro 4 Modified is a lightweight car with a four-cylinder engine, quite the step up from the go-karts and smaller vehicles he started out with at age 4.
“I’m always nervous in the car, but once you start to go, that fades away and you’re focused on the track,” Dumas said. “It’s pretty exhilarating, all of the adrenaline pumping.”
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“I just get used to the nerves. They’re always there – you never know what’s going to happen in the race,” said Dumas. “But the more seat time I get, the more races I do, the more I understand you don’t know what’s going to happen but you can only try your best. Do what you can to win, that’s all you can do.”
Dumas races on a team called JDS Motorsports, alongside family friends Craig Phillips and George Rego. The team was founded in the 1980’s when Dumas’ father, John, was approximately 16 or 17.
Phillips is the team owner and has been racing competitively for it since 2002, and Rego, who has been racing locally for over 30 years, debuted with the team last year.
In 2020, Dumas competed at Seekonk Speedway in the Sport 4 division with a mildly modified Ford Mustang and pulled off numerous top-10 finishes, ranking among the leaders in points by the end of the year. The high school sophomore scored the highest total for rookie drivers that season.
“Working as a team, I don’t care just how I finish. I care about how everybody else in our team finishes, as well,” said Dumas. “In between races, I’ll help out my teammates Craig and George with their cars. But during the racing, it’s fast, fun, everything happens quick. I like it.”
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Dumas said has been working on cars since he was about 12. Now a senior, his Boxer-themed car now was a special dedication to the football team in his final season of high school.
“It’s my senior season and this team, this school, it means a lot to me,” said Dumas. “I figured it’d be good to represent it in racing, expose it to other people we race with.”
In his senior season, Dumas drilled 27 extra points to make him the team’s fourth-leading scorer behind the quarterback tandem of K.O. Osinubi and Cam Monteiro and running back Mauricio Powell.
He began playing football during the shortened 2020 season as a sophomore, intending to play a different position. However despite having no prior experience, the varsity squad needed a kicker. And Dumas needed a roster spot.
“Jack has come from scratch in learning the trade. He works hard at it,” said Brockton head coach Peter Colombo. “He’s made a couple of key tackles for us after we break down and it happens a lot in high school. That’s key because that’s your last line of defense on the kickoff. That’s an indication he’s not just a kicker, but he is a good athlete.”
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It wasn’t until last year that Dumas experimented with a uniform quirk that helped his accuracy. In watching him closely, you may notice that he wears two different cleats. One, his right, is neon yellow, the other is black with purple accents. There’s a reason for that.
The black cleat is a size 11.5, what he normally wears, and the yellow one is size 9. A trick he learned from the Brockton High coaching staff, the smaller size allows Dumas to get more precise contact with the ball as he strikes it.
“When I kicked with bigger cleats, I was always scraping the ground,” Dumas said. “With a smaller cleat, you don’t scrape the ground as much and I can put much more power into the football.”
Sometimes tweaking the smallest details makes the biggest of differences. “I’ve gotten used to it,” Dumas admitted. “Last year, it was very uncomfortable.”
But based on how the Brockton offense – which churned out over 38 points per game through eight regular season games – stacked one score after another, Dumas doesn’t have much time to kill between trotting out for PAT tries and kickoffs. His kicking net often keeps him company in the meantime.
“Most of the time I’m focused on keeping my leg warm and that keeps me occupied for the most part,” Dumas said.
It’s a trade that, when he first approached it as a sophomore, he likened to kicking in taekwondo. Now a senior, he realizes his improvement within all three of his sports traces back to one common thread: practice, which Colombo noted, and work ethic.
“In motorsports, if you don’t put in the time before the races, you aren’t going to do good in the race. I think that’s something that translates to this,” said Dumas, standing on the turf at Marciano Stadium after a team practice. “If I don’t practice hard or practice well enough, if I don’t put in the hours before the games, I’m not going to do good in the games. I think that’s a skill you can learn from.”
The Boxers (8-2) were eliminated in the Division 1 state tournament in a 37-34 road loss to No. 8 Methuen on Nov. 4 and capped the 2022 season Wednesday against rival Bridgewater-Raynham at Fenway Park.
“I find it unique. I don’t think this team has experienced something like this in a long time,” Dumas said, noting the team’s success in Colombo’s final year as head coach and the program’s 125th anniversary season. “Just seeing on the sideline, even though I can’t do anything on offense or defense, I can try my best to contribute on special teams, make it a well-rounded team. Just watching how the team has evolved from last year to this year, it’s amazing to me.”