Dawson County High School, like so many schools across the state and the nation, hosted events for athletes signing letters of intent to play football at the collegiate level last week.
National Signing Day was Feb. 1 and two Dawson County High seniors made their collegiate choices official in front of their friends and family in the campus library.
Running back Nasser Clark and offensive lineman Wyatt McMahon committed to Army and the University of the Cumberlands respectively.
"I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play D1 football because it has always been one of my dreams," Clark said to the gathered crowd moments before he signed to play at West Point.
"Playing college football has always been a dream," McMahon said about signing with the University of the Cumberlands.
Athletic Director Grady Turner welcomed the students and families and pointed out that this is the first DCHS student to sign with Army and the second to sign with the Patriots in Kentucky.
Principal Richard Crumley also congratulated the athletes.
"Having the opportunity to play football, but also the opportunity to further pursue your education will mean a lot more to them in the end, I think, than football," Crumley said.
Both of the players were only with the Dawson County program, under Head Coach Sid Maxwell, for a relatively short period.
"He did make a big impact," Maxwell said about Clark. "Blessed to have him aboard. It was great to work with him for that short period."
Clark joined the team mid-season of his senior year after spending the prior three at White County.
McMahon, according to his dad, had been in different schools every year since eighth grade due to varying family circumstances.
Regardless, both students thanked and praised the Dawson County community and school for the opportunity to be a part.
"I just liked the fact that we chose Dawson County to be a part of. They let us in with open arms," Clark said.
Nasser's father Mark, praised the community as well.
"This is the best community that I think I have ever been a part of," Mark said. "The reason why is because of the kids. Kids are your community."
He also told the group that prior to moving into Dawson County he'd hardly ever let his sons get in the car with other kids to go places, but here they'd found a different level of comfort.
"I have never let my son ride in the car with anybody except maybe one or two guys prior to them coming here. I just tell you, you guys, this is the best community. You kids are so incredible and understand that you are," he said.
Mark and Kimberly Brown-Clark's oldest son played at Air Force and the youngest of the three, Sevaughn will be a junior in the Dawson County program this fall.
"I guess the biggest dream for me is to watch my son's dreams come true. To have it come true the way he wants it. Football is wonderful but then to make sure academically he continues to elevate himself...For him to be a great example and now he is an example for his brother," Kimberly said. "I am so proud of him. I have three great accomplishments and that is one of them. I just want him to always know I am so proud of him."
Clark has played football for 11 years.
"It's crazy. I love the fact that I was able to achieve my dream of playing college football. I know that there are a lot of players that want to do that and that is their dream and that's what they set all their goals for. The fact that I get to say that is amazing," Clark said.
McMahon has been pursuing his collegiate dream since he started playing football at age 6.
Spending his final year of high school at Dawson County is something he is also happy about.
"Even though it's my first year here, I feel like I have been here for a while. I have made a lot of close friends. I want to thank Coach Maxwell for accepting me in and Mr. Crumley," McMahon said.
McMahon said that when he visited the University of the Cumberlands, he felt he fit right in and knew it was the place for him.
"It's about four hours away and I just loved it there," McMahon said. "The coaches are great. Right when I got there I kind of molded in. I felt like I had been there before."
The McMahon family also stressed the way their own close-knit family has been pleased to be a part at Dawson.
"This place was really accepting, pretty awesome," Shawn McMahon said. "Pretty cool."
"We are proud of him. It's a blessing to see him reach this," Adana McMahon said.
McMahon was one of seven DCHS players to be named to the first team all-region this year.