Wide receiver Dayton Dubs of Arlington Lamar can be counted on to run great routes and make tough catches. He can also be counted on to supply much-needed laughs.
But after missing the playoffs last year, he and his teammates are serious about righting the ship.
Dubs, a 4-6A second team all-district selection in 2016, is one of a trio of experienced wide receivers that the Vikings are counting on to return Lamar to its usual spot: the postseason. Dubs and long-time teammates Jaylen Jones and Matthew Shaw are out to prove Lamar is much better than its 5-5 record and fifth-place district finish of last season.
All of us wide receivers are pretty good friends and have been for a few years now. Dubs is the funniest of us.
Lamar receiver Matthew Shaw
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“Our varsity experience and leadership skills that we’ve developed over the past year will help us have success this year,” Shaw said.
As they’re striving for wins, they’re enjoying each other’s company. “All of us wide receivers are pretty good friends and have been for a few years now,” Shaw said. “Dubs is the funniest of us.”
“Yeah, that’s very true,” Dubs said of his sense of humor.
So does Dubs make the guys crack up in the huddle? “From time to time we do laugh a little during the game, but we try to stay focused as much as possible,” Shaw said.
Talented passer Chance Fuller, a first team all-district selection in 2016, has graduated. But the wide receivers have developed a strong rapport with this year’s potential starting quarterbacks Kaden Hadawi, a senior who has played with the trio of receivers since junior high, and Jack Dawson, an athletic sophomore.
“We are pretty comfortable with either quarterback, and we have the ability to adapt to either one do their playing styles,” Shaw said. “That being said, we expect great success in our passing game.”
Both QBs got tons of reps with the pass catchers during the summer 7 on 7 season, in which Lamar reached the state tournament for a record 20th year in a row. “Doing it now will transfer over to the fall season,” Jones said during a recent 7 on 7 practice. “You do it enough, it just becomes second nature.”
For Jones, Shaw and Dubs, making difficult plays seem easy has become second nature. But each receiver brings something a little different to the offense. “Jaylen is more of a possessive and shifty type of receiver,” Shaw said. “Dubs is a speedy guy with great routes and great hands, and I am also a great route runner with great hands.”
The three receivers are supportive of each other, but each wants to make the key third-down catch or score the big touchdown. But Lamar being ahead at the end is the most important driving force for each player.
“We are always competing when it comes to football, because that’s what it’s all about,” Shaw said. “But at the end of the day, the thing that is most important is the W.”
The Arlington Martin volleyball team kicks off its non-district schedule on Aug. 8 with a 6:30 p.m. away game against Richland, a tough team that reached the area round of the playoffs in 2016. But the Lady Rebels lost last year’s season opener, as Martin took three straight sets.
Other season openers on the same day and time — almost a month before the first day of school, Sept. 5 — include Arlington Lamar at Mansfield Legacy, Arlington hosting Weatherford, Arlington Bowie hosting Mansfield Summit, Arlington Sam Houston visiting Crowley and Arlington Seguin visiting Saginaw.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74