Friday Night Hero: West Rowan's Greg Dixon
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan’s senior defensive lineman Greg Dixon couldn’t wait to turn on WBTV’s “Football Friday Night.” He figured he’d be on the highlights.
He was. And he was impressive.
West, the three-time defending state champion was having its hands full with a winless — but feisty — South Rowan team late in the first quarter, leading just 13-6. That’s when South quarterback Nathan Lambert was swarmed by Maurice Warren and Logan Stoodley, among others. The ball came loose and hit the ground around midfield.
The 6-foot-1, 270 pound Dixon’s big paw scooped up the ball like a shortstop and he was suddenly headed for the end zone.
“I just saw straight ahead,” Dixon chuckled. “I didn’t know how close I was. I just kept running.”
Unfortunately for him, Lambert jumped on his back and tackled him at the two.
West QB Zay Laster did the honors, scoring on the first play of the second quarter. The Falcons never looked back, winning 52-12.
Asked what he thought of the play, head coach Scott Young said, “Pretty athletic. Greg actually jumped over an offensive and defensive lineman and scooped it up.”
It also made defensive line coach Stevie Williams a happy man. Williams is a former Catawba defensive line star.
“It shows the hard work we do from Monday through Thursday is starting to pay off,” Williams said. “We do a lot of drills that college lineman do and offensive lineman aren’t used to seeing that. That’s why we have some success.”
His prize pupil is certainly paying attention.
“I know if I listen to him and do what he says, I can play in college like Chris Smith,” Dixon said, referring to the Arkansas defensive starter. “(Williams) has been through it. He’s a good coach.”
Young has come to expect those plays from Dixon, who has improved every game.
“I remember Week 1 against Mooresville,” Young said. “Greg was out of shape and tired. Since then, he’s probably made the most impact for our defense as far as big plays go. Our defensive line is one of the best around and Greg is the senior anchor.”
Lambert was probably seeing No. 72 in his sleep. He was sacked nine times, once by Dixon, who thinks West (4-2) is hitting its stride after running its record to 2-0 in the North Piedmont Conference.
“We just had a couple of bad games,” Dixon said. “We’re back on track.”
This week, East Rowan visits the Falcons and you can bet the 0-6 Mustangs will get a good dose of Dixon.
“He’s pretty strong at attack,” Williams said. “He’s got good quickness and good hands.”
Those hands were on display when he recovered the fumble against South. He had a good time with it, which is expected. Young says Dixon is the team comedian.
“He’s absolutely funny to talk to,” Young said. “He has a pleasant personality.”
“I try to keep a smile on everybody’s face,” Dixon added. “You gotta have fun playing football.”
That’s why he smiles every time he turns on the tape of his big play against South.
“I watch it every day,” he laughed. “It’s a good thing.”
Williams was asked if the play reminded him of himself when he played on the defensive line for Catawba.
He said yes, with one exception.
“I would’ve scored, though,” Williams grinned.