It was an emotional morning when senior Coey Watson signed to play football at Shorter University. Tears of joy were shed by proud coaches, family and friends as Watson made his commitment to Shorter official Feb. 7.
When the star high school quarterback received his acceptance and offer from the university, he was ‘pumped.’
“I loved the head coach. He’s a good Christian man and it just felt like a good fit. I thought this is where God wants me to be,” Watson said.
Watson has been playing football in Dawson County for the past 13 years, starting with the parks and rec team when he was five years old.
“He’s always been a Tiger,” said his proud mother, Ronda.
His uncle Chad Rogers, who has been the ‘Voice of the Tiger’ for 10 years, told his favorite memory of his nephew.
“As a young man I showed up one Saturday at one of these park and rec games. (Coey) comes up to me at the fence and says ‘hey we’re getting ready to receive the kick off. I’m going to run it all the way back for a touchdown.’ I thought ‘okay, go get it buddy.’ Sure enough he caught it and ran it all the way back, scored a touchdown, run up the sidelines and hands me the ball and says ‘this is for you dude.’ It just blew me away and ever since then he’s always proved if he can will it, he can make it happen,” said Rogers.
His other uncle, Josh Rogers, was also emotional as he reflected on his memories of young Watson.
“I’ve watched him since he was five years old, watching him play every Saturday, every Friday. I remember just being a little boy and him playing – that’s the memories I hold on to and will never forget,” he said.
The quarterback has been leading the Varsity Tigers for the past three years and says that it’s something he has always wanted to do since he was a little kid. Leading the Dawson County Tigers on offense has been “a dream come true,” the senior said.
During his career, he broke school records, took the Tigers to their first region championship and also their first quarter final appearance. He was also named Offensive Player of the Year in Region 7-AAA in 2017.
As Head Coach Sid Maxwell said, the football coaches and team will have big shoes to fill and a lot of work ahead next year.
“I always say the measurement of a great player is someone who is consistent year in and year out,” said Maxwell. “Consistency, heart, determination and moving the chains for your quarterback – I mean that’s the reason we’ve had success.”
And consistent and determined Watson has been, both on and off the field.
Coach Chess Hamby said all he can remember Watson doing is winning, while Maxwell mentioned his drive and refusal to lose.
“In the two years I’ve coached here I never felt we’d lose a game because he wasn’t going to let it happen,” said Coach Bradley Fowler.
The thing about Watson that has stood out to all of his coaches and teammates is his heart. To many of the coaches who spoke of Watson last week, his passion for the game is unmatched.
“You measure the height of the man, the speed of the man but you can’t measure the heart of the man,” said his father, linebacker coach Josh Watson. “He’s got the heart of a Tiger and I’m proud of him.”
In his time at DCHS, Coey has totaled 7,012 passing yards and 2,076 rushing yards and finished his high school career with 106 touchdowns. During his senior year he amassed 1,815 passing yards and 16 touchdowns and 779 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Coey says he couldn’t have accomplished what he has without the Lord, who gave him the ability and talent to play the game as well as his family, coaches and teammates for supporting him, pushing him and shaping him into the man he is today.
“I’d like to thank this community and what it means to me and I’ll always love this place,” said Watson. “Y’all have no idea what it means to me to play for Dawson County every Friday night. I love y’all and I love this school.”