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Dawson Christian football comes up big
DCA Camp pic
Dawson Christian football Coach Marcus Stowers calls out plays to sophomore quarterback Luke Chism during Saturdays 7-on7 tournament. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

It may be the only time all year that the Dawson Christian Academy Eagles football team has what might be considered a level playing field.

The private school that boasts a total attendance of around 70 students in grades K-12 has a bit of a struggle to field a full football team. So when they enter a summertime 7-on-7 event, it seems like a breeze.

The athletes who choose football at DCA know they will be playing both sides of the ball for pretty much the entire game.

They have more than found a way to make it work.

"Right now we have 15 and we are waiting to hear on two to three more," said Head Coach Marcus Stowers. "We expect to start the season realistically with 18-20."

"If we had 18-20 I'd be thrilled considering most of the season last year we had 13."

Though Stowers is excited to think of having those numbers, most would balk at the thought. Many high school football teams have anywhere from 100-150 players available for freshman through varsity level play.

DCA played on Saturday at the Georgia Independent 7-on-7 Tournament at Gary Pirkle Park in Sugar Hill where they ended the day as runners-up.

Stowers is in his third year as head coach and the team is entering its second season at the varsity level.

"Last year we had seven freshmen," he said.

In their first season at the varsity level in the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association, the team went 3-8. The GICAA is the second largest league in the state.

"Even though we went 3-8, four of the games we played were one possession games that we lost in the fourth quarter," Stowers said.

Along with athletes from DCA, the team is also able to accept participants that are home-schooled. The team is always looking for new recruits.

Athletic director, Hope Chism, went so far as to send out post cards throughout Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties hoping to add a few.

Though the numbers may be lacking, the talent does not seem to be.

The team went 5-0 on Saturday to earn a No. 1 seed in the playoff brackets. DCA beat Georgia Force, King's Academy, Carolina Wildcats from Greenville, S.C., Augusta Prep and a junior varsity program before advancing.

The loss in the championship game came against Augusta Prep, who had an enrollment for the 2015-16 school year of close to 600 students.

The Eagles' sophomore quarterback Luke Chism had 23 passing touchdowns on the day with only two interceptions.

Senior Vusa Moyo came away with 10 receptions for touchdowns. During last season he had 897 all-purpose yards, 13 touchdowns and was both all-region and all-state in the GICAA.

Four seniors just returned from the Blue-Grey All-American Combine Southeast Super Regional event in Florida where they received significant recognition.

Moyo was mentioned as one of the top 10 players regardless of position.

Senior Cason Setzekorn, son of former Clemson tight end Ken Setzekorn, excelled during line drills. He and Moyo were both top three for players in their position overall.

The two are currently waiting to hear if they made the All-American game, according to Stowers.

The upcoming season for the Eagles will see them take on teams from all over Georgia and Stowers is hopeful that another year of growth and experience will benefit the team as a whole.

"The major difference in this year will be the fact all of our kids are about 30 lbs. heavier after a year of weight training," Stowers said.

Safety Logan Hinton, who had eight interceptions as a freshman, has grown five inches and running back Ahamad Kamara who had 1,300 rushing yards as a freshman has put on 30 pounds.

The offensive (and defensive) lines will be led by all-region players Setzekorn and Noah Burruss.

The Eagles season will kick off on Aug. 12 when they travel to face Monsignor Donovan at John Hancock Academy in Sparta.