Dawson County News hosted their inaugural Fall Media Day in celebration of the five fall sports that Dawson County High School plays.
Here are some big takeaways from media day which featured players and coaches from the cross country, football, softball and volleyball teams.
Three Things We Learned
1. New head softball coach Justin Rickett fitting in perfectly with big senior class
After leading the West Forsyth Wolverines softball program for the last 10 years, Justin Rickett was hired at the end of last school year to take over the softball team that went 7-14 last season.
It is always hard for a new coach to get any player to buy in right away, but even tougher to get a group of seven seniors who might like how things used to be to buy in. However, Rickett has had nothing but laughs and hard work from his class of 2022.
“I tell them all the time how proud I am of them because of how much they care about each other,” Rickett said. “ For a coach to get their kids to care about one another is when you have a chance for something to be successful and special.”
Rickett added that the players already knew what they wanted out of this season and were hoping that he would be able to help them achieve a true family feel to the team.
“The entire atmosphere has changed,” senior infielder Rylie Erickson said. “I feel like everyone works a bit harder at practice because we’re expecting more out of ourselves.”
2. Quarterback Zach Holtzclaw comfortable with all-new receiving core
As the Tigers prepare for this football season, all three of their starting receivers, their starting tight end and starting running back from last season are no longer on the team, causing a huge turnover on offense.
However, Tigers quarterback Zach Holtzclaw said he is more than ready to get on the field with his group of new guys after summer workouts.
“Most of the guys are in my grade so it was more about getting our timing and routes down,” Holtzclaw said. “That’s what the passing game is. You find those windows and find the open grass. The more experience they get, the more they’ll understand to go with their landmarks.”
Head football coach Sid Maxwell said Bailey Dameron and Doug Pagel will be filling in alongside two-year defensive back starter Braedon Hubbard.
Holtzclaw has a fighting chance this year to pass Tiger football legends Coey Watson and Tyler Dominy for the most passing yards all-time for Dawson County High School.
3. Former head cross country coach Charles Beusse will still have a role on the team.
After leading his boys team to a second place finish at the state meet, head cross country coach Charles Beusse decided to step down from his role. Longtime assistant and head middle school coach Jonathan Tinsley took the program over in his place.
At media day, Tinsley announced that Beusse would stay involved in the program and be around “as much as we can make him.”
“He’s a fantastic coach and we’re going to continue to pick his brain,” Beusse said. “We’ve got a great program that he’s built here and we’re going to keep going on from that.”
Alongside Beusse, the Tigers lost three runners who all finished within the top-25 individual times at the state meet: Brendan Swafford, Sam Hulsey and Luke Hamby.
Tinsley said to expect names like Devin Knight, Ryan McGinnis, Tyler Tangel, Chase Cofield, Bailey Swafford or Owen Walls to replace those names as the Tigers look to win their third region championship in a row.
Three Things We Heard
1. Tigers head football coach Sid Maxwell had a lot to say about the change over of his defensive backs from last season. After giving a warning to all opponents about how quick they are, he hinted that he might not be buying their amusement park tickets anytime soon.
“We have guys who aren’t the biggest on our secondary but they fly around like missiles,” Maxwell said. “If you look at them, I always joke they couldn’t ride the six flags ride if they wanted. We’re gonna need to play our hands well this year because we won’t win too many jump balls.”
2. Lady Tigers head volleyball coach Tanya Porter does not have to do much turn around on her roster after graduating only three seniors from the program last year. However, she will always welcome any new players and will go to far lengths to acquire the talent for her team.
“We are international now,” Porter said. “We have a Canadian that has moved in. So, she’s going to be our other setter. She found Dawson County all the way from Canada. I don’t know how but I’m glad.”
3. The Dawson County softball team mentioned during their session of a special practice that was held earlier in the summer in which every player dressed up like an animal. Head coach Justin Rickett was the zookeeper and everyone else seemed to wear reasonable costumes to practice except for senior outfielder Ainsley Allen.
“I was a blowup ostrich,” Allen said. “I wanted an excuse to get one. I’ve always wanted one. I was the one who requested animal day just so I could get it. And I had it like a month before we did animal day.”