CEDAR RAPIDS — Andre Dawson ran with a special purpose against Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
In honor of his mother, Hilda, diagnosed with breast cancer when he was just 12 years old, the Cedar Rapids Washington senior running back made a pledge to score for every year his mother had survived.
“I told myself my goal was to get a touchdown for every year she survived,” said an emotional Dawson, now 17. “This year was her fifth year.”
Donning a special pink jersey and socks for breast cancer awareness, Dawson scored five touchdowns, powering the Warriors to a 45-7 win over the cross-town rival J-Hawks in a Mississippi Valley Conference contest last night at Kingston Stadium.
That’s one amazing feat to go along with Hilda surviving beyond the one year she was given to live, according to Dawson, who along with Alex Carr and injured quarterback Shay Gutman helped set up the breast cancer event.
“It’s a miracle,” Dawson said. “I don’t understand how it happened.”
It’s easy to understand, though. Dawson ran through and around the J-Hawks defense, tallying 266 rushing yards including 190 in the second half. His five TDs ties a school single-game record and the 266 yards is believed to be a Warrior record.
“Andre’s just terrific obviously,” Washington Coach Tony Lombardi said. “He’s the best back in the state of Iowa. I think he’s pretty special.”
Dawson shouldered most of the load, especially now that Gutman has been sidelined with a knee injury. Lombardi expects Gutman to return.
“We’re very fortunate while we’re living through getting our quarterback back,which we will get him back, he can carry the load,” Lombardi said.
Dawson provided the offense for the Warriors in the first half. Dawson carried the ball on all but four plays, racking up 76 rushing yards.
Dawson put the Warriors on the board late in the first, scoring untouched on a 3-yard TD run. Alex Carr set up the score with a 45-yard jaunt the previous play.
Dawson’s second touchdown was the most surprising.
Jefferson (1-6) looked to be in position to even the score, recovering a fumble on the Warriors 21, but the ball bounced the Warriors way on the very next play.
Jefferson’s Tanner Unkel took the hand off and fumbled at the line of scrimmage. Dawson picked up the loose ball with no one in front of him and dashed 78 yards down the left sideline for the score. Washington took that 14-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The Warriors practiced the “scoop and score” on fumbles this week and it paid off.
“As soon as I saw the ball come out it was like a tunnel to the end zone,” Dawson said. “I couldn’t see anything else.”
The Warriors (5-2) broke it open after the half. Dawson scored three more times, including a 27-yard run around the left end on the Warriors’ second play of the second half.
He added a 38-yard blast up the middle and a 30-yarder off the left tackle that when a J-Hawk defender slipped Dawson gave Hilda the ultimate tribute.
“I truly can’t put it into words,” Dawson said. “It’s a feeling that you know that you accomplished one of your biggest life goals.”
Carr capped the scoring with a 9-yard TD run in the fourth.
The Washington defense put the clamps down on the J-Hawks. They held Jefferson to just 10 yards rushing and a little more than 120 total yards.
“I was proud. That was a good win for us,” Lombardi said. “I thought our defense played terrific.”
Washington linebacker Saxon Dolan suffered a leg injury and did not return after being helped off the field. the extent of his injury was not known.
Unkel scored on a 35-yard in the final quarter run for the J-Hawks’ lone touchdown.
The J-Hawks managed to move the ball on the Warriors behind quarterback Logan Ruffridge, who was 9 of 14 for 70 yards passing. He guided them to eight first half first downs, but left the game with an injury to his non-throwing hand after a late hit in the second quarter.
Washington will be auctioning off the pink jerseys worn in Friday’s game. Go to the Washington football website http://www.crwfootball.org/. The goal is to raise $10,000 with the proceeds to go to local groups associated with the cause.
Alex Carr, Andre Dawson, breast cancer awareness, cancer, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Washington, coach, game, Hilda Dawson, J-Hawks, Logan Ruffridge, Mississippi Valley Conference, prep football, Saxon Dolan, shay gutman, Tanner Unkel, Tony Lombardi, Touchdown, Warriors