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Local Legends: Opelika’s James Dawson earns 1st start in Kennesaw State victory
LOCAL LEGENDS

Local Legends: Opelika’s James Dawson earns 1st start in Kennesaw State victory

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Opelika vs. St. Paul’s Episcopal School high school football (copy)

Opelika offensive lineman James Dawson (70) battles with St. Paul’s defensive lineman Daniel Foster-Allen (90) during the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Bulldog Stadium on Nov. 15, 2019 in Opelika.

During his time at Opelika, offensive lineman James Dawson became a trusted player up front. He’s just beginning his collegiate career at Kennesaw State, but this week Dawson took a step toward doing the exact same thing with the Owls.

Dawson made his first collegiate start Saturday by playing center in Kennesaw State’s game against Dixie State. Dawson and the Owls got the job done against the Trailblazers in a 37-27 victory.

Saturday’s game marked Dawson’s second appearance for Kennesaw State after playing in the Owls’ victory over Charleston Southern last week.

A four-year starter at Opelika, Dawson wasted little time in proving himself as a lineman the Bulldogs could depend on. He was named a first team All-Area player as a sophomore, junior and senior and capped off his high school career by paving the way for Opelika running back Eric Watts to rush for over 1,200 yards and for the Bulldogs to reach the Class 6A state semifinals in 2019.

Dawson was also an accomplished high school wrestler and ended his wrestling career at Opelika as a heavyweight state champion.

The Opelika-Auburn News' Jon Dykstra caught up with Opelika's James Dawson after winning the state wrestling title.

Here’s a roundup of the other former Friday night stars from the area who stood out this weekend at the collegiate level:

Auburn High

Anthony Imperio, Eastern Illinois Imperio saw the field on the offensive line in the Panthers’ 28-20 victory over Tennessee Tech on Sunday.

Central-Phenix City

Markail Benton, Jacksonville State — Benton had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the Gamecocks’ 21-3 victory over Southeast Missouri on Sunday.

Karon Delince, ETSU — Delince had five tackles and one fumble recovery for two yards in the Buccaneers’ 28-21 victory over the Citadel on Saturday.

Darius King, Alabama State — King had three tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in the Hornets’ 35-28 victory over Jackson State on Saturday.

Tyler Moore, Kennesaw State — Moore had three tackles in the Owls’ 37-27 victory over Dixie State on Saturday.

Zion Webb, Jacksonville State — Webb was 11-of-19 passing for 190 yards with one touchdown and one interception and rushed eight times for 53 yards and one touchdown in the Gamecocks’ 21-3 victory over Southeast Missouri on Sunday.

LaFayette

Jordan Walker, Chattanooga — Walker had one tackle in the Mocs’ 20-18 victory over Furman on Saturday.

Opelika

Jamias Presley, Jacksonville State — Presley had five tackles in the Gamecocks’ 21-3 victory over Southeast Missouri on Sunday.

Smiths Station

Justin Brown, Tennessee State — Brown had one tackle in the Tigers’ 35-13 loss to Murray State on Sunday.

Chad Strickland, Eastern Illinois — Strickland started at left tackle in the Panthers’ 28-20 victory over Tennessee Tech on Sunday.

Springwood

Shykee Thomas, Southern — Thomas had three kick returns for 130 yards and one touchdown — the score coming on a 98-yard return — in the Jaguars’ 51-23 victory over Texas Southern on Saturday.

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