Dawson scores lone touchdown in spring football game


Senior running back Lamar Washington outruns a Gold team defender in Saturday’s spring game. Washington finished with 66 rushing yards in the Blue team’s 6-0 win. Photo by Matthew Bliss.

Lance Lysowski

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While Kent State fans were focusing on the quarterback position during Saturday’s spring game, it was a walk-on running back that led the gold team to a 6-0 victory.

Junior Larry Dawson used a combination of speed and power to run through the blue team’s defensive front and into the secondary to finish the game with 107 yards on 16 carries.

Dawson scored the game’s lone touchdown in the third quarter when he trampled into the end zone from three yards out.

For Dawson, Saturday’s performance was not the difficult part of his career. The 6-foot, 200-pound running back’s journey to Kent State has included two different schools and four coaches in three years.

Dawson was recruited heavily out of North High in Akron, and he originally committed to Cincinnati before he ran into legal trouble. Akron was one of the few schools that gave him a chance to play football after the Bearcats took away his scholarship.

His stay with the Zips lasted two years before he decided to make a change.

“I started off there, and things were okay there, but I felt like God wanted me over here for an even better purpose. I’m here now, and I’m giving my whole 100 percent now.” – Larry Dawson

“I started off there, and things were okay there, but I felt like God wanted me over here for an even better purpose,” Dawson said. “I’m here now, and I’m giving my whole 100 percent now.”

Dawson walked onto the Flashes last season under former coach Doug Martin, and has worked to impress Darrell Hazell, Kent State coach.

It didn’t take long for Dawson to grab his new coach’s attention.

“(I first noticed him during) 6 a.m. workouts, he’s a big, strong, fast guy,” Hazell said. “You were hoping that would transition into pads, and it obviously does. He’s a guy that has a lot of ability.”

It was not only Dawson that stood out on Saturday but the entire running game for Kent State. Both teams combined for 259 rushing yards against a depleted group of linebackers for the Flashes.

The other running back that continued his strong play this spring was junior Dri Archer. Archer broke the game’s longest play from scrimmage with a 40-yard run, after he spun out of two tackles and into the Blue team’s secondary.

“He excites me with the ball in his hands. I wouldn’t want to tackle him.” – Darrell Hazell

Archer was a strong player for Kent State last spring as well, but struggled during the 2010 season. Hazell believes that will not be in the case in 2011.

“He’s going to be one of the better backs in the country,” Hazell said. “I don’t care if he’s (5-foot-6). He’s got things you can’t defend. He excites me with the ball in his hands. I wouldn’t want to tackle him.”

While the running game excelled, the quarterback position is still a question mark. Junior quarterback Spencer Keith saw limited action, but completed 3 of 5 passes for 59 yards. Senior Giorgio Morgan and freshman Cedric McCloud, who are also vying for the starting job, struggled with consistency throughout Saturday’s game.

Hazell said that Keith’s improvement over the past week has made the difference, but he does not expect to name a starting quarterback until two weeks before the Sept. 3 game at Alabama.

“I thought he ran the offense extremely well when he was in there,” Hazell said. “I think he has gotten a lot better in our last five practices. Things are slowing down for him.”

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].