High School Football

Local college/NFL players: a punt block, a pick-6, and a... marriage proposal?

From homelessness to approaching a college degree, Antonio Dawkins has come a long way

Fort Mill High grad Antonio Dawkins describes sneaking into his former school to take showers, something he had to do as a homeless high school student. Now, Dawkins is two semesters from becoming his family’s first college graduate.
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Fort Mill High grad Antonio Dawkins describes sneaking into his former school to take showers, something he had to do as a homeless high school student. Now, Dawkins is two semesters from becoming his family’s first college graduate.

Antonio Dawkins, Bluefield College (Va.) - Dawkins made two tackles but Bluefield fell to Reinhardt (Ga.) 48-6. Big deal, right? Well, Dawkins’ biggest play came after the game when the former Fort Mill Yellow Jacket proposed to his girlfriend, Ajanee, right on the field.

Dawkins was the central figure in a Herald story this summer about his fight to reach college while secretly homeless for much of his high school life. But the junior defensive back is doing well at Bluefield, a small NAIA school tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

Saturday’s proposal was a bold move planned several months in advance. Dawkins had the ring stashed in his backpack on the sideline during the game. Afterward, he made his way over to Ajanee and her family. He said a few quiet words to her, then knelt down. A small crowd quickly encircled them, and reacted audibly when Dawkins kneeled. He pulled Ajanee’s hand away from her mouth and slipped a ring on it. Then they hugged as everyone cheered.

Oh, and one more important fact: Ajanee said yes.

Jerry Howard, Georgia Tech - Howard, the former Northwestern Trojan, scored a touchdown for the third straight week but couldn’t prevent the Yellow Jackets from a 28-14 loss to Duke. Howard led Georgia Tech with 62 yards on 12 carries, but Duke did a very good job slowing the Yellow Jackets’ run game. Howard also caught a 16-yard pass.

Ryan DeLuca, Furman - Fort Mill’s DeLuca caught his second TD pass of the season during the Paladins’ 34-14 win over Wofford last weekend. DeLuca’s lone catch of the game was a 9-yard score early in the second half that pushed Furman’s lead to 27-7.

Ali Shockley, Ellsworth Community College (Iowa) - Northwestern’s Shockley recorded 11 tackles and a sack during the Panthers’ 36-30 loss to Fort Scott Community College. Shockley, the sophomore transfer from North Greenville University, has made double-digit tackles in five out of seven games this season. He leads the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division I in solo tackles (64) and is third in total tackles (82).

Caliph Brice, Hutchinson Community College (Kans.) - another former Northwestern Trojan college sophomore playing juco football out on the American plains, Brice continued his strong season, making 11 tackles during the Blue Dragons’ win over Coffeyville. Brice also notched 1.5 tackles-for-loss, including a sack. Hutchinson is 7-1.

Anthony Johnson, Buffalo - the former South Pointe Stallion has struggled with a hamstring problem the last few weeks, but played during the Bulls’ win over Akron with a number of NFL scouts watching. Johnson snared two passes for 44 yards, including an impressive one-handed grab down the right sideline that helped set up a Bulls field goal.

“I just wanted to get the ball and make a play for my team,” Johnson told the Buffalo News after the game. “I didn’t know that was going to be the play, a one-handed catch but that play got me going a lot. There’s a lot I’ve got to work on, but I’m going to get there.”

“I really commend him for the way he’s gone about it,” said Buffalo coach Lance Leipold. “It’s not like, hey, I’m going to shut it down for two weeks, three weeks, and see how I feel. He’s worked it. He wants to play. And to see him make contributions, I felt really happy for him.”

Donavan Perryman, Furman - Rock Hill High’s Perryman recorded nine tackles during Furman’s big win over rival Wofford.

Shea Rodgers, Newberry - a poor offensive outing for Newberry equaled a big day punting for Indian Land’s Rodgers during the Wolves’ 14-0 loss to Tusculum. He hit 11 punts for a 39.5-yard average, with four downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and two kicks longer than 50 yards.

Jordan Helms, North Greenville - Nation Ford’s Helms caught a 15-yard pass during the Crusaders’ 41-7 win over Shorter College, but more importantly blocked a punt early in the second quarter that was recovered in the end zone by a teammate for a touchdown.

Rogan Wells, Valdosta State - the Blazers are up to No. 7 in NCAA Division II after beating Florida Tech 51-21. Fort Mill’s Wells had another big game, completing 15-of-31 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing the ball 12 times for 120 yards and another touchdown. Wells has thrown 25 touchdown passes and just three interceptions in seven games, all Valdosta State wins.

Other locals’ performances

Skyler DeLong, Alabama - Nation Ford grad has now punted once in the last three games, hitting a 12-yard kick during the Crimson Tide’s 39-10 win over Missouri.

Malik Williams, Appalachian State - Williams, the sophomore receiver from Chester, caught two passes for 19 yards as the Mountaineers smoked Arkansas State 35-9 last Tuesday. App State is 4-1 with its only loss coming in overtime to nationally-ranked Penn State.

Chandler Kryst, Coastal Carolina - Fort Mill grad made two tackles during the Chanticleers’ 45-20 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

Myles Prosser, Coastal Carolina - Prosser, from York, kicked off five times during Coastal’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe, with two touchbacks.

Brandon Plyler, Concord (W.Va.) - Fort Mill grad caught two passes for 18 yards during the Mountain Lions’ 52-24 loss to West Virginia State.

Corey Seargent, East Carolina - former Northwestern Trojan made a tackle during the Pirates’ 42-20 loss to Houston.

Chris Bouyer, East Tennessee State - Northwestern’s Bouyer notched four tackles during ETSU’s 26-23 win over The Citadel. The Bucs are 6-1.

Christian Steele, Guilford - true freshman from Northwestern made a tackle during the Quakers’ 28-27 win over Ferrum, the first of his college career.

Jay Hood, Johnson C. Smith - it wasn’t a good day for the Golden Bulls, who fell to Fayetteville State 70-6, but Hood did catch Smith’s lone touchdown of the day, a 16-yard score in the fourth quarter. The former Lancaster Bruin also caught a 66-yard pass to finish with two grabs for 82 yards and a second TD in as many games.

Denzel Marshall, Johnson C. Smith - Chester lineman started at right tackle for Johnson C. Smith against Fayetteville State, a position that he’s made his own the last two seasons.

Quentin Sanders, Lackawanna College (Pa.) - Lackawanna beat Monroe College 21-7 and Sanders, the former Lewisville Lion, returned two punts for 23 yards during his team’s juco football victory.

Ken’darius Frederick, Limestone - defensive back from South Pointe made five tackles during Limestone’s 63-17 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne.

Ty’quarious Miller, Limestone - Lancaster’s Miller started on the Saints’ defensive line against Lenoir-Rhyne, making a single tackle.

Marleek Reid, Limestone - Reid, from South Pointe, made two tackles during the Saints’ loss to Lenoir-Rhyne.

Malcolm Means, Mars Hill - Lewisville grad started at cornerback during the Lions’ 49-27 loss to Carson-Newman, making eight tackles.

Darryl Foster, Newberry - linebacker from Chester made three tackles, a half tackle-for-loss and recorded a QB hurry during the Wolves’ 14-0 loss to Tusculum.

Nick Yearwood, Newberry - sophomore linebacker from South Pointe made a tackle during the Wolves’ loss to Tusculum.

Markell Castle, Newberry - York grad and senior receiver had four catches for 67 yards and also ran the ball three times for four yards during the Wolves’ loss to Tusculum.

Greg Ruff, Newberry - South Pointe’s Ruff completed 2-of-5 passes for 26 yards during Newberry’s loss to Tusculum.

Trevin Mingo-Watts, Newberry - Lancaster product starrted at left tackle for the Wolves against Tusculum.

Steven Gilmore Jr., Marshall - South Pointe grad and true freshman defensive back has dressed for all of the Thundering Herd’s games this season, but recorded his first college stat Saturday during their 42-20 win over Old Dominion, a pass break-up.

Farrika Grier, South Carolina State - Lancaster’s Grier carried the ball three times for two yards during the Bulldogs’ 28-26 loss to Bethune-Cookman.

Quan Caldwell, South Carolina State - Caldwell, from Chester, caught two passes for 21 yards during S.C. State’s narrow loss to Bethune-Cookman.

Scott Robinson Jr., South Carolina State - true freshman and former South Pointe standout made three tackles during his team’s loss to Bethune-Cookman.

Jerome Pettiway, South Carolina State - York grad punted seven times for a 42.4-yard average during the loss to Bethune-Cookman. Pettiway had one punt downed inside the 20-yard line.

Jaylen McFadden, St. Andrews - freshman from Lewisville made a tackle during St. Andrews’ 47-30 win over Union (Ky.).

Deshawn Davis, Tusculum - the Pioneers beat Newberry 14-0, and Davis, the former South Pointe Stallion, led Tusculum’s aerial attack with two catches for 48 yards.

Detorien Rawlinson, William Penn (Iowa) - York’s Rawlinson made a tackle as the Statesmen beat Culver-Stockton (Mo.) 24-21.

Xi Simpson, Wingate - Chester’s Simpson started at right tackle as Wingate beat Catawba 35-25.

Kendrick Hicks, Wingate - Rock Hill linebacker made two tackles, with 0.5 tackles-for-loss, during the Bulldogs’ win over Catawba.

Local NFL players

Johnathan Joseph, Houston - Northwestern grad had a huge game for the Texans during their 20-13 win over Buffalo. Joseph made six tackles, defended two passes and intercepted a fourth quarter pass that he returned 28 yards for a touchdown that proved the game-winner. Houston tied the game with 1:37 left, and just a few plays later, Joseph nipped in front of a pass intended for former Carolina Panther Kelvin Benjamin on the right sideline. Joseph’s pick-six was the seventh of his career and ensures that 2018 will be his sixth consecutive season with at least one interception return for a touchdown.

“I kind of thought for a second to just get there and hold the ball so we can the run clock out,” Joseph told the media afterward. “But then I was like: `A chance like that (doesn’t) come by so often. I’ve got to score this.”

Jadeveon Clowney, Houston - South Pointe’s Clowney had a tackle-for-loss during the Texans’ win over the Bills, Houston’s third straight victory. Clowney made the tackle with the help of one of Chris Ivory’s dreadlocks.

Cordarrelle Patterson, New England - former Northwestern Trojan Patterson returned a kickoff for 30 yards, caught a 13-yard pass and ran the ball once for a three-yard gain during the Patriots’ 43-40 win over previously unbeaten Kansas City.

Stephon Gilmore, New England - South Pointe grad Gilmore notched two tackles and a pass defended during the Patriots win against Kansas City.