Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Last year’s Iota team surpassed everyone’s expectations — even Bulldogs coach Josh Andrus.
“I think we saw the guys and thought we had a chance to be really good,” Andrus said. “Did we think we’d have an undefeated regular season? Maybe not.”
Iota took its undefeated regular season all the way to the state semifinals last season and this season, expectations are high as momentum for the program continues to build in Andrus’ fourth season.
So maybe turning the program over to sophomore Dawson Wallace might have some uneasy. Yes, Wallace started at wide receiver last season and was a part of high-pressure situations. But is he ready to lead the program and get Iota over the hump?
Andrus has no doubt.
“Dawson has a big arm and he is very athletic,” Andrus said. “He has some size, too. His play is going to have a big part of our playoff runs, but he knows we have some good skill guys and a good offensive line. He understands he doesn't have to do it all by himself.”
Wallace played quarterback his entire life until last year as a freshman he moved to receiver. He said last season’s team built the foundation for Iota football and he is taking the responsibility of carrying the torch seriously.
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Andrus said he knew when watching Wallace in middle school — and even when Wallace got quarterback reps last season — that he had the ability to start at quarterback early.
“I saw him in practice and I knew he was going to be a special guy,” Andrus said. “The things Dawson can do athletically and arm wise makes him a little more special. He is a quiet, but a confident kid. He plays baseball and he plays other sports with guys on the team. Those guys around him help out a lot. If he keeps his head on straight, he is going to be really special by the time his career is over.”
Andrus said he has a lot of confidence in Wallace to lead the Bulldogs this season, but Andrus also said he knows Wallace won’t be doing it alone. Iota will surround Wallace with a lot of experienced guys to help him get through some of the growing pains.
“You got Luke Doucet in the backfield and Landon Doucet at fullback,” Andrus said. “Those guys have been in the pressure situations, and that’s going to help Dawson. He was in those big games as a receiver, but those guys surrounding him are going to help him out and make sure the situation never gets too big for him.”
Wallace agreed, saying he isn’t going to put the world on his shoulders. He said he knows his team has his back and said as they rely on each other, the season should be a success.
“We have a lot of guys that can do good things,” Wallace said. “We are young, but we have guys that are ready to play. We have the best tailback in the area and our receivers are A1. We are going to be really good this year.”