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Dawson County signs first international athlete
Zach Buchan signing pic
Dawson County High School senior quarterback Zach Buchan is joined by his father Robert, mother Tiffany and sister Gabby as he signs his letter of intent to play Canadian football at the University of Alberta. Coach Jeff Lee, standing, who helped connect Buchan to the university, applauds in excitement. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

One local quarterback made Dawson County High School history when he signed as its first international scholarship athlete last week.

Zach Buchan, who started playing football at Riverview Middle, signed a letter of intent to the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada on Friday.

"This is our first ever, in any sport, international athlete signing," said Dawson County High School Athletic Director Grady Turner. "This is a huge accomplishment and we are very proud of it."

Buchan credits former Dawson County High School Head Football Coach Jeff Lee for connecting him to the university.

"Because they have Canadian decent, we reached out to the University of Alberta and they asked for his film," Lee said.

Lee said he remembers watching Buchan come up through his high school career in football.

"Zach came in behind the shoes of a really good quarterback and did a great job his junior year," he said. "That was the season that got him recruited. He then had a bump in the road with his injury that pretty much stopped his senior season."

Buchan suffered a hand injury during an early game his senior year that required surgery. The injury resulted in him missing most of the season in his regular position.

The Buchans moved to Dawson County in 2008 from Canada following a stay in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His family says they have been behind him every step of the way.

"The whole reason we moved to the United States was for him to play American football," said Buchan's sister, Gabby. "Even though I would have done anything to have moved back, I would have given up anything to watch him play."

His father, Robert, said he was proud of his son for overcoming what could have been a career-ending injury.

"Little boys start playing football, but men end up playing football," he said. "You get hurt, you get broken and you get back up."

Buchan said he was excited to start the next leg of his football journey.

"It's different. It's a blessing," he said. "I'm really excited to go up there and play football, but it's going to be a big change, but I'm really excited to take on this journey."