Being taller than most athletes growing up helped make Dashawn Dixon stand out as one of the better players on the basketball court, but it caused a uniform problem when he tried to suit up for the Catonsville High JV football team as a freshman.
Coach Eric Warm couldn’t find any pants that could fit, so he borrowed a pair of Under Armour pants from the varsity squad.
“He looked so good we made him a captain that week,” Warm said. “He was as happy as you see a 14 or 15 year old kid.”
In four years, he grew out of those pants and into a leader and quality athlete on the football and basketball teams.
He also earned the honor as the 2020 Catonsville/Arbutus Times Male co-Athlete of the Year. He shares the award with classmate Mark Brady.
“He was a team favorite, a coach favorite and in the two years I coached him in JV football, he grew so much as a football player and as a man — as a junior and senior, even though I didn’t work with him, his growth as a person and his maturity, he was just one of the best kids that I have coached in football,” Warm said. “I’m really glad that he is the co-Athlete. He is just a great kid.”
Varsity football coach Jaren Maybin coached Dixon in his junior and senior seasons and also saw that growth.
“The kids looked at him as a leader, especially in football because he was such a role player and because of his frame, he’s a 6-5 kid and people are going to notice him,” Maybin said. “He really took a leadership role, he wasn’t like a vocal leader, it was just from his actions.”
Those actions as a defensive end and wide receiver made coaches notice him in the second game of the season.
The Comets trailed Hammond 14-0 when Dixon’s defensive gem turned the tide.
“He forced that first turnover, a fumble, and Adrian Cummings scooped it up and scored,” Maybin said. “That kind of changed the whole dynamic of the game. I think that Dashawn helped boost our morale so that we come back from 14 points at halftime.”
“That was one of my highlight plays of the year,” Dixon said. “I still remember that play to this day. I just gave my team momentum to win the game.”
When the Comets lost to Parkville in a battle of unbeaten 4-0 teams, Dixon didn’t go un-noticed.
“We were going up against that triple option and after that game, coach (Jeff) Mueller said that Dashawn graded out the best out of everybody on the defense because he just did his job,” Maybin said. “None of those big plays that they scored were on Dashawn, he was always in the spot where he was supposed to be.”
“My defensive coach was preaching to me, just do your job, don’t worry about nobody else’s job, just do yours and that game I did my job,” Dixon said. “They gave me a chance to play defense which I like.”
Dixon won’t be playing any more football, but he will play basketball in college when teams get on the back on court after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
“That’s certainly an accomplishment to play at the next level,” Maybin said. “He was able to earn a scholarship to Penn State Schuylkill and we are super proud of him.”
Brady was happy to have him as a teammate.
“Dashawn was a key player. I always tried to get him the ball because he was almost the biggest one on the court every time,” Brady said. “Any time we could get him the ball I knew he would make it because he had this nice like hook shot or fadeaway and it would almost always go in.”
“I always practice my mid-range jump shot, that’s what I’m really known for,” said Dixon, estimating he averaged around 10-15 points and 8-10 rebounds a game.
“When he backed off four or five feet from the basket, he was net all the time,” assistant varsity basketball coach Will Sauble said. “I think he will do really well in college.”
The fact that the Comets went 2-19 on the court didn’t stop Dixon from making the All-Division team and refusing to quit.
“Even though we weren’t winning many games, I still never gave up, I just wanted to give my all any time I stepped on the court,” he said. “I have passion for the sport of basketball, I love it too much to be giving up.”
That passion began in the Arbutus rec leagues at the age of 10 and continued at the Beechfield Summer Camp.
“That’s when I played a lot of basketball and I just wanted to keep on playing,” said Dixon, who also played in the Arbutus Golden Eagles football program.
His family moved to Catonsville before Dixon’s freshman year and during 2016-17 basketball season he met the JV coach, Teron Owens, who shaped his future.
Owens played on the 1992 Catonsville High state championship team and reminded Dixon about that occasionally.
“The coach that really pushed me to keep on playing was Teron Owens,” Dixon said. “He helped me out in my freshman and senior year in becoming a better person.”
Although he has been playing in a summer basketball league, he is really looking forward to getting on the college court.