Dawson Littlepage is a man of many challenges and many victories.
Already facing the challenge of returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his junior season with the Brock Eagles football team, he got an additional big task placed at his feet prior to the current season.
Which, coincidentally, was a good place to put it as it could be those very feet and legs that make a big difference for the Eagles this season.
Littlepage learned he would be carrying much of the load as a tailback out of the Eagles' backfield following the transfer of 1,000-yard rusher Matthew Gray to Weatherford for his senior season.
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"He's played that position before and we have a lot of confidence in him there," Brock coach Chad Worrell said. "He was off to a really good start last season before he got hurt. He had two huge plays in the Midland Christian game to turn it around."
Indeed, it's not as if Littlepage wasn't already prolific with the ball. He had 518 total yards in three games last season, including a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to change momentum in a wild 57-41 win over Midland Christian.
"Wherever coach tells me to go, that's what I'll do," Littlepage said."You just have to believe in your coaches."
Littlepage has been on the Eagles varsity since he was a freshman, often playing outside linebacker, but it was obvious he could make things happen when he got his hands on the ball. Having played linebacker the entire state championship game to cap a 16-0 season as a sophomore, he said it was torturous at times last season when all he could do was watch.
And when the Eagles' season ended against Wall in the state quarterfinals, finishing 13-1, he said it was downright agonizing.
"I wanted to be out there so bad. I knew at times I could make a difference," he said. "But that's behind me now, and I'm back in position to be a difference maker. I'm ready to be that leader."
Through the first two games at press time, Littlepage had rushed 29 times for 271 yards and four touchdowns as the Eagles were off to a 1-1 start.
Littlepage understands what it's like to battle a knee injury. His dad and two brothers experience the same thing. His dad played for Graham and his brothers both for Mineral Wells.
Littlepage had surgery on Sept. 26, 2016.
"He's ready. We've got complete confidence in him," Worrell said. "And every time he gets up and there are no injuries, he gets more confidence."
Worrell said his battling back has also set a strong example for his teammates.
"Dawson's a football player, and other kids respect him," he said. "It takes a lot of guts to come back from an injury like that. It broke my heart last year when he went down.
"But he's back and he's going to be a big part of how successful we are this year."
Littlepage wants to play in college. However, he understands the offers probably won't come until he can prove himself again as a senior.
"I feel if I could have played last year I would have gotten some offers," he said. "Now, that's a big goal for me - that and us winning state again, which would probably help my chances also."