Dawson and the Argonauts bring home a championship

Published 7:24 pm Monday, December 23, 2019

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Dawson Hamlin described his chance to play for a national championship as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hamlin and the West Florida Argonauts capitalized on the opportunity and came home with the school’s first ever football national championship.

The Argonauts knocked off Minnesota State 48-40 in McKinney Texas on Saturday afternoon.

“It was so exciting and the place was loud,” Hamlin said. “McKinney Texas is such a cool place to be. It was a dream come true for sure.”

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West Florida had to upset four teams just to get to the championship. Beating another favorite was icing on the cake for Hamlin and his teammates.

“It’s surreal,” Hamlin said. “I’m not sure it’s hit me yet. I can’t believe we did it. We were underdogs in all five of our playoff games. Not many people believed in us. That’s really special, to take it from game one all the way to the championship. It still hasn’t hit me yet.”

The two teams put up a combined 88 points. The former Eagle punter only had to enter the field four times, as the Argonaut’s offense scored points on eight drives. Despite getting on the field, Hamlin was more than happy to watch the offense from the sidelines.

“For the first time in a long time, I was happy that I wasn’t having to punt,” Hamlin said. “It was no doubt a shootout. We have a very special quarterback in Austin Reed. He is a playmaker, a ball of energy and he doesn’t shy away from the moment. We are very fortunate to have him on the team for sure.”

Hamlin averaged 38 yards per punt on Saturday. Two of his punts went for over 50 yards. One of his punts landed inside the 20 yard-line.

The trip for Hamlin was more about the game and playing for a championship. Hamlin and his teammates had the opportunity to spend a week together prior to kickoff. The extra time with his teammates will be what Hamlin remembers most from his time in McKinney.

“We spent an entire week together,” Hamlin said. “Just had some of the best conversations I have ever had with anybody. I’m never going to forget this specific team with those specific people because they had a significant impact on me.”

Although it’s hard to imagine not being on the football field, Hamlin will spend the early portion of the offseason celebrating the championship with his family and friends before returning to practice in the spring, where he and the rest of the Argonauts will begin  work on defending the national championship.

“I really don’t want to take a whole lot of time off,” Hamlin said. “I get kind of crazy when football ends. I’m so used to going to the field and punting the football. I’m going to celebrate with family. That’s the greatest Christmas present you could ask for.”