Prep Football: West's Dixon signs with West Liberty
By Ronnie Gallagher
MOUNT ULLA — Greg Dixon is going to travel seven hours from home for college, but thanks to some familiar faces, it won’t seem that far.
West Rowan’s star defensive tackle has signed with West Liberty University, a Division II member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
He’ll be joining former Falcons Eric Cowan, a defensive back, and Quintin Sifford, a linebacker. They just completed their freshmen seasons.
A Salisbury connection will greet Dixon in the season opener when Catawba comes into Russek Field on Sept. 1.
Dixon will be counted on to help the Hilltoppers rebound from the school’s 1-10 season in 2011, the first losing campaign in head coach Roger Waialae’s eight-year career.
Maurice Warren, Dixon’s defensive line mate, has a chance to go as well if his academics improve, according to West coach Scott Young. Mike Norman, another Falcon, has been offered. He’s an offensive lineman.
Dixon brings some pretty impressive credentials with him to West Liberty. He was named North Piedmont Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and will play in this summer’s East-West All-Star game with Norman.
The 6-foot-1, 270-pounder was West’s Sackmaster and earned his shot in college.
“Coaches from the East-West game and college coaches would turn on the film and 10 minutes into it, they were like, ‘ This cat can play!’ ” said Young. “He played with great effort.”
Young didn’t always say that. But by his junior year, Dixon said he realized he had a college future ahead of him simply from those tough West practices and some daily prodding from defensive line coach Stevie Williams. When a school wins three straight state titles, there are some pretty good offensive linemen on the other side of the line.
“Going up against (Timmy) Pangburn and (Charles) Holloway every day helped me,” Dixon said.
Dixon had his moments. He ransacked Salisbury quarterback Brian Bauk, who remarked after the game, “He was always in my face.”
Dixon was dominant against Davie County. He was a key to a playoff win over Mount Pleasant when the Falcons accumulated eight sacks.
How did Dixon end up at West Liberty?
Young has become friends with a Hilltopper assistant and when the coach called, asking if there were any Falcons he should to be interested in, Young pointed Dixon toward the West Virginia campus.
“He took a visit and it paid off,” Young said.
Dixon said he enjoyed his stroll around campus, thanks to Cowan and Sifford.
“Eric and Quintin walked us on a tour and told us this was a good place for us,” Dixon said. “All the coaches were real nice. It was a good atmosphere.”
Dixon couldn’t help West bring home a fourth straight state title but added, “It was a pretty good year.”
He expects his time at West Liberty to be a good time also.
“I’m going to get to play defensive tackle,” he beamed, “and I’ll get the same number, too.”
One day, WVIAC foes might be fearing that No. 72 jersey as much as the North Piedmont Conference did in 2011.
Another school who is getting a good dose of Rowan County football players is Division III Averitt, located in Danville, Va.
Three defenders from Carson — defensive backs Zach Blythe and Dontae Gilbert, along with linebacker T.J. Smith — are heading there to join former Cougar teammate Zack Grkman.
A story is upcoming.