Parry McCluer's Ryheem Dawson has helped the Fighting Blues jump-out to a 4-1 start coming into week 6, and had a career game last week against Roanoke Catholic. For his effort, Dawson has been named WDBJ7’s Player of the Week.
"He just enjoys playing football. He goes out there and has a lot of fun. Not a lot of stress. He's very loose when he gets out there and he just loves to play football," Parry McCluer coach Mike Craft said.
For Ryheem Dawson, it's all about the game. And although he shies away from the spotlight, last week's 27-point win over Roanoke Catholic was all about Dawson's major role in the win.
"Going in, we didn't have Logan Arthur in the backfield so I knew that I had to step-up and perform at a level that I know I can perform at," Dawson said.
With Arthur, the other half of their rushing duo, out with a concussion, Dawson stepped-up to the tune of three touchdowns and more than 260 yards of total offense on just eight carries and one catch.
"As always, Ryheem puts out 110 percent. He's a hard working young man. He's a real team player that really sacrifices for his team," Craft said.
The junior running back also plays defense for the Fighting Blues and leads the team in tackling. And although he says he likes playing offense better, defense has its high points too.
"I like defense because you just go hard every play, same as offense, but defense you got to have the mindset of just a head hunter just going after the ball. Not taking a play off and just going," Dawson said.
As a two-way starter, Ryheem was an easy choice for the coaches as one of their team captains, despite being just a junior. But he's risen to the challenge to lead their squad.
“Ryheem carries a big load, emotionally and physically,” Craft said. “He runs hard. He plays hard and also the kids look to him for leadership. When he's having a good game, they have a tendency to have one too. He knows there's a lot on his back but the pressure doesn't seem to bother him."
Part of the reason the football comes so naturally to Ryheem is because he grew up in a football household as one of three boys.
"The older brother graduated last year and he was a defensive end and tight end for us on offense. And of course Ryheem has stepped in where his brother walked away. And he's got a little brother who's in the 7th grade this year so we're looking for some more Dawsons coming through, too,” Craft said.