After spending last football season in Maryland, Stephen Dawson is back in red and black, armed and dangerous for 2017—his senior football year.

After spending last football season in Maryland, Stephen Dawson is back in red and black, armed and dangerous for 2017—his senior football year.

  As the season approaches, Dawson has looked good in preseason work and summer camps. His arm strength, footwork, technique and reads are improved. So is his touch.  

  Case in point: at the Owen Schmitt Red Devils Youth Camp, Dawson deftly tossed a football the length of Mick Price Court into a trash can in a throw-off with Hall of Famer Paul Fletcher. 

 Dawson looks to be a gunslinger for the Red Devils this fall with a bevy of targets to throw to, including fellow senior Jake Greene, converted quarterback-slot receiver Max Hilton, speedy Austin Garrett and senior wildcard Jayden Rhodes. Wingback Luke Jackson and fullback Evan Dunlap will be targets as well out of the backfield.

 As a sophomore starter, Dawson completed 91 of 210 passes (43%) for 1,153 yards with nine TDs and eight interceptions. He’s looking to gun-sling those numbers to greater heights, more TDs and lead his Red Devils back to the state playoffs after a two-year hiatus.

 An all-around athlete, Dawson helped lead Ravenswood basketball and baseball teams to the State Class A championship games earlier this year. He’d like nothing better than to help engineer a run to Wheeling Island for the Football Devils in his final go-round.

  “It felt weird being away last year,” said Dawson. “It’ s just better to be home with family and friends. It’s great to be back. I really think we have the leadership and talent to make runs in all three sports (football, basketball and baseball) this coming year.

  “We have a lot of different players running in and out at the receiver and running back positions. Max moving back to slot receiver will really help our offense. That’s his better position. Jake (Greene) will probably be my Number 1 target in terms of overall touches. We’ve always connected well.”

 A pass-first quarterback, Dawson says he does have his share of designed runs in Kemp Kelly’s offensive scheme. His favorite throw is deep down the sideline. 

 “We’re going to be throwing the ball a lot, so I have to have that gunslinger mentality and be ready to throw at any moment,” he said.

 “Our line is really good,” he added. “They’re experienced, big and I think they’ll do really well this year.” 

 Dawson will also be punting for the Devils.

 Personally, he has his sights set on all-conference honors and is aiming for season passing record held by Brett Rector. Team-wise, Dawson wants to win the first game tomorrow (Friday) night at Wahama to set the tone for the season; then hopefully make the playoffs and win back the Hatchet.