Positive start with non-district schedule important for Eagles

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Dawson Head Coach Mike Allison

The old saying is, "It's not how you begin -- but how you finish that counts."

While that is true -- how you begin can set the tone for how you finish.

In 2022 -- the Dawson Eagles began the season 0-3 as they fell to Fort Bend Hightower, Klein Collins, and Tomball.

Despite the winless start, Dawson head coach Mike Allison didn't lose faith in the Eagles as they rallied to win the next 6-of-8 games and made the post-season. Dawson finished second in the District 23-6A standings and lost to league champion Shadow Creek 16-10 while having a chance to pull out a victory in the final quarter.

Allison is confident that his team will be stronger this season and that their non-district schedule will have a different outcome against the same teams.

"Offensively, we have some dynamic athletes in the skill positions," Allison said. "They have the ability to line up in different positions and do some different things to help the team.

"We have some experience coming back on the O-Line, and have a few of the underclassmen stepping up and competing for the open spots."

And the real strength of the team at the beginning of the season will be the Eagle defense.

The defensive foundation will begin with the two bookend defensive ends in Charles Anderson (6-7, 245) who had 45 stops, seven TFL, and two sacks and Edward Smith (6-6, 240) who had 24 tackles, eight TFL, and two sacks. Both have committed to Texas Tech.

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Gabriel McFarland led the Dawson defense with three interceptions last year while also getting 28 tackles, 13 assisted stops, two tackles for loss, one sack, and four pass breakups in 2022.

McFarland is looking to improve on those numbers in 2023.

[Photo by Lloyd Hendricks]

"I expect the Dawson Eagles to be successful," Allison said. "Everyone wants to win district, make a long run in the playoffs, and win a state title."

Dawson Eagles vs Fort Bend Hightower Hurricanes
Saturday, August 26
Hall Stadium at 6:00 p.m.

Dawson led Hightower 17-16 at halftime last season but they weren't able to protect the lead as the Hurricanes scored 13 unanswered points in the second half to pull out the 29-17 non-district win in the season opener for both teams.

Hightower returns five offensive starters and eight defensive starters and 28 lettermen from a 10-3 team that advanced to the 6A Div. II regional semifinals.

QB Joseph Stewart (5-10, 165, 4.5) will return to lead the offensive assault after he threw for 2,833 yards and 26 TDs while rushing for 378 yards and two scores last year.

He will have strong help with TCU commit RB Jeremy Payne (5-11, 180, 4.5) in the backfield. Payne rushed for 1,002 yards and 13 TDs while catching 17 passes for 320 yards and three scores.

Other weapons include WR Zion Kearney (6-2, 170, 4.5) who caught 39 passes for 765 yards and eight TDs. RB Austin Bowen (5-8, 165, 4.5) added 560 yards and eight scores to the attack.

The strength of the defense will be in the secondary with DB Kameron Reddic (5-11, 170, 4.5) who had 67 tackles, 5 TFL, and one INT, CB Ephraim Dotson (5-11, 175, 4.5) who had 49 tackles, five INTs, and DB Kade Phillips (6-3, 190, 4.8) who had 41 tackles.

This came should be a great season-opener for both teams.

Dawson Eagles vs Klein Collins Tigers
Saturday, September 2
Klein Memorial Stadium - 6:00 p.m.

Dawson will face one of the top teams in the Houston area when they take on the Klein Collins Tigers who are a pre-season pick to win the District 15-6A crown.

The Tigers were 10-2 last season while advancing to the 6A Div. I area round. The Tigers lost to state-power Westfield 41-38.

Collins will return seven offensive and seven defensive starters to go with 49 lettermen in their quest to improve on their 2022 season.

Dawson was never in contention in last year's game as the Tigers dominated from start to finish leading 24-7 at halftime and closing out the game 14-7 in the second half to post the 38-14 final score.

QB Tucker Parks (6-2, 205, 4.6) leads the potent offense after a banner year as a junior. Last season he threw for 2,744 yards and 31 TDs while rushing for 724 yards and 13 scores making him one of the top quarterbacks in the state. He has committed to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

The Tigers have other weapons in RB Michael Wilson (5-11, 175, 4.5) who had 508 yards and 4 TDs as well as WR Donovan Baker (5-11, 170, 4.6) who caught 31 passes for 608 and 5 TDs.

Other offensive players include RB Jarrod Penright (6-0, 180, 4.50) and RB Randall Jackson (6-0, 195, 4.6).

Defensively, the Tigers will be led by DB Chris Gant (5-10, 190, 4.5) who had 90 tackles and three INTs while DL Antoine Milon (6-0, 280, 4.9) had 60 tackles and 10 sacks.

The Eagles will have to bring their A game against the Tigers.

Dawson Eagles vs Tomball Cougars
Saturday, September 9
Pearland ISD Stadium at 6:00 p.m.

While Dawson gave a good effort against Tomball last year, they still came up short 34-21 to begin the season 0-3 for the first time in school history.

Dawson knows the only way to get better is to face strong teams and the Eagles will do that again in 2023.

Tomball is a pre-season pick to finish third in District 15-6A. They have five offensive and nine defensive starters returning with 38 lettermen so they will present a challenge this season.

The defense will be rated as one of the best in the Houston area and they are led by LB Keegan Demmer (6-0, 200, 4.7) who set a school record with 153 tackles, 14 TFL) as a junior. He will have plenty of support with DB Matt Gainey (6-2, 180, 4.6) who had 88 tackles, 7 TFL and DE Ramon Pernas (6-2, 225, 4.7) who had 77 tackles, 12 TFL, and three sacks.

Offensively, the Cougars will be led by QB Carter Noyas (6-0, 180, 4.6) who threw for 1,526 yards and nine TDs. He will have help from WR Brooks Junod (6-1, 185, 4.6) who caught 44 passes for 656 yards and five scores. RB Koby Fosher (5-11, 180, 4.7) will lead the ground attack with 667 yards and six TDs.

Others who will make an offensive impact will be Ath Jaxyn Faldyn (5-11, 165, 4.6), TE Aidan Waldron, and OL Brent Perkins.

The non-district contest between Dawson and Tomball will be another strong test for the Eagles before the start of district.

2023 Dawson Eagles Football Schedule

Sat        8/26    Hightower                Away    6:00 p.m.

Sat        9/2      Klein Collins            Away     6:00 p.m.

Sat        9/9      Tomball                   Home    6:00 p.m.


Fri         9/22    *Alief Hastings         Home    7:00 p.m.

Thur      9/28    *Alief Taylor             Away      6:00 p.m.

Fri        10/6     *Strake Jesuit          Home     7:00 p.m.

Fri        10/13   *Pearland                 Home     7:00 p.m.

Fri        10/20   *Shadow Creek        Home     7:00 p.m.
Fri        10/27   *Alief Elsik                Away      7:00 p.m.

Thur     11/2     *Alvin                        Home     7:00 p.m.

* Denotes District 23-6A Game