During Montana’s lackluster offensive performance in the Badlands Bowl against North Dakota, Eric Dawson shined as one of the bright spots.
Dawson, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound tight end from Great Falls CMR who is going to Carroll College to play linebacker, finished the game catching six passes for 103 yards and the game’s first touchdown. He built a strong chemistry with Bozeman quarterback Will Weyer that was evident that game, and it's continued to the East team’s practice for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game in Laurel.
“Eric’s the man,” Weyer said. “He’s an unreal tight end. He’s kind of our go-to guy. I can pretty much throw the ball up to him, and he’ll go get it.”
There were a couple plays like that at the Badlands Bowl in Dickinson, N.D., and Weyer has an obvious comfort level with Dawson. On one possession at a Tuesday practice, Weyer, who will play college football at Montana, completed three passes. Two of those went to Dawson.
“It’s nice to have somebody that can give you the ball when you’re open,” Dawson said. “And even when you’re not, he’ll put the ball up and let you make a play.”
The chemistry developed between the two during the Badlands Bowl has already proved beneficial this week. Dawson was late getting to Billings for practice, as he was celebrating Jack Johnson’s retirement last weekend.
Johnson stepped down as the CMR coach following last season. He manned the sideline for 41 years, winning 340 games and 13 state championships.
“(Johnson) had said if we had another good year, he was going to hang it up,” Dawson said. “Going to the semis again, it was his time. He’s a great coach, one of the greatest guys I’ve ever been able to have coaching me. I wish him the best, and I think he’s made a real impact on everybody’s life that he’s ever coached.”