Boyle’s Dawson signs to play football, baseball at Air Force

Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

It has been nine months since Sage Dawson committed to play football at the U.S. Air Force Academy, but he only recently found out he can do better than that.

The Boyle County senior learned this week that he’ll be able to play football and baseball at Air Force, and he shared that Wednesday during a signing ceremony at the school.

Dawson said it was only days ago that the Air Force football coach who recruited him put him in touch with the academy’s baseball coach.

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“So now I’ve got the chance to go to Air Force and play football and baseball,” Dawson said during the ceremony streamed by Boyle County Sports Network.

Because service academies do not award scholarships, Dawson signed a certificate of commitment that affirms his intent to follow through with the appointment process.

Dawson committed to Air Force in June, well before his senior year began. His time to sign before family members, teammates and friends finally came Wednesday, and he said he wasn’t nervous when the day began but got that way as the day wore on.

“I went to school and I was fine, but I left (in the afternoon) and I got real nervous,” he said.

Dawson was named the Class 4A Player of the Year and a Mr. Football finalist by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association after leading the Boyle offense at quarterback for the second straight season and also starring at cornerback.

He passed for 2,509 yards and 29 touchdowns and also ranked third on the team in rushing with 385 yards and four TDs. On defense, he had 18 solo tackles and 24 total tackles with 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

In five high school seasons, Dawson completed 62 percent of his passes for 6,258 yards and 70 TD, rushed for 1,275 yards and 18 TDs and had 206 receiving yards and two TDs and 64 solo tackles, 92 total tackles and two interceptions.

Boyle football coach Justin Haddix said he told Dawson, whom he said weighed 132 pounds when he came to Boyle from Danville in 2021, that he had work to do in the weight room and on the field, and he said Dawson never shied away from that.

“He took that challenge,” Haddix said. “He had expectations, I had expectations for him and he rose to meet those every time.”

Dawson had played quarterback at Danville as a freshman and sophomore, but he played wide receiver and played defense for the first time while waiting for the quarterback position to open up at Boyle.

He had to play (positions) he’d never done before. He was willing to do things for the team, to sacrifice, and that’s what leadership is,” Haddix said.

On the baseball field, Dawson batted .373 last year with two home runs, 33 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

He has a career batting average of .324 over three seasons with 10 homers, 84 RBIs and 38 stolen bases.

He was named most valuable player of the 2022 45th District Tournament after hitting two grand slams in consecutive at-bats over two games.

“He’s always level-headed. You never know if he’s too high or too low. That really makes him, in those big moments, a great athlete to me,” Boyle baseball coach Adam Blair said. “He’s had big moments his whole career here. He’s always been clutch and done great.”

Blair said he looks forward to what lies ahead for Dawson this season and beyond.

“It’s been a joy to watch him,” Blair said. “I’m super proud and happy for him and what he’s got coming, and I’m blessed to have had him for the last few years and … for a few more months.”

Dawson said he has enjoyed his time at Boyle, during which he has won three state championships in football and two district championships in baseball.

“It’s been an honor playing with all my brothers in baseball and football,” he said.

Blair noted that other teachers speak well of Dawson and his work in the classroom, and both Blair and assistant principal Kyle Wynn noted that their young sons are among those to whom Dawson is a role model.

“I thank you for being that kid that (my son) looks up to,” Blair said.