GC Sports Corsicana December 2018 - Page 23

DISTRICT 11-2A DII Dawson BULLDOGS Head Coach Ronnie Striplin 2018 record: 5-5 Last Playoff Appearance: 2018 junior class that includes Zane Guerra, a fullback who was a big blocker and ran for 235 yards, averaging almost nine yards a carry, and scored three touch- downs. Guerra also led the team in sacks with seven. The Bulldogs swarm on defense and made life difficult for opponents. They had 24 sacks this season and came through with 65 tackles for losses, including 11 by Brycen Marberry, who led the way with 86 tackles. Senior Carson Henderson, a two-way lineman, was a big reason for Dawson’s success and newcomer Da’Mariyea Hamilton, a sophomore, was a big-play special teams player for the Bulldogs with 216 yards (including a 71-yard TD) on kickoff returns. The season started with a loss to Axtell on a Thursday night in Waco, and then Dawson won four of its next five games with impressive non-district wins over Bartlett (28-12) and Ranger (51-8). It would have been five in a row if not for a close loss to Valley Mills (33-32). More importantly, they won their first two district showdowns. The Bulldogs beat their biggest rival Hubbard 28-13 in the District 11-2A DII opener in the Highway 31 game and then shut out Meridian 26-0 to start the district race at 2-0. They lost to Frost and defending 2A DI state champ Mart. In a twist of irony, on the night they lost to Mart, Hubbard beat Wortham and that meant that Dawson clinched a playoff berth because Dawson was 2-2 with only Wortham left on the schedule and could finish no worse than fourth. The Bulldogs beat Wortham 28-12 to nail down the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The best news about Dawson’s 2018 season is that it felt more like the begin- ning than a prize at the end of a long road, and Striplin, who is the Golden Circle’s Coach of the Year along with Corsicana’s Steve Hoffman, believes the best is yet to come. So do the kids at Dawson. 2018 SCHEDULE Axtell    L 50-12 Bartlet    W 28-12 Valley Mills  L 33-32 at Ranger   W 51-8 Hubbard *   W 28-13 Meridian *   W 26-0 at Frost*     L 21-0 Mart *     L 63-6 at Wortham*   W 28-12 Lovelady    L 69-19 *District Game ULLD DAWSON – You didn’t have to be a genius to see this was going to be a big year at Dawson. You just had to have a good set of eyes and know a little math. You could tell back in August when 44 kids show up to play football, and you could see right away this was a no- nonsense, disciplined team from the first day of practice. The Bulldogs had only 19 players to start the 2017 season (they ended it with 26) but by coach Ronnie Striplin’s second season the change in numbers and culture was evident right away. Then the Bulldogs went out and won. In fact, in a nine-game regular season that included a rainout, they won five games -- the exact number of victories Dawson had posted in the previous five years, and they won something else -- a playoff berth that had been missing since 2010. There were teams in Texas with more wins and teams that made runs in the playoffs, but no one had a breakthrough year like the one at Dawson, where life changed for the players and the town -- where the Bulldogs won a lot more than football games. Striplin, who has won eight games in two years, said later that this team was a year ahead of schedule and that he thought the breakthrough year would come in 2019, but that’s another story and with the majority of the team com- ing back things look even brighter for the Bulldogs next year. Quarterback Brendan Horner, a two-year starter who was only a junior this year, had a big season, running the ground-and-pound offense and running for 347 yards. He was just as good on defense (74 tackles, including five for losses) and will return as one of the top two-way players in the Golden Circle. So will Jakoby Moore, a junior tail- back/defensive back who led Dawson in rushing with 606 yards on 66 carries (9.2 average) and led the secondary with three interceptions. Horner and Moore lead a strong G C F O OT B A L L 1 8 |   C O R S I C A N A DA I LY S U N | D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 23