Above: Highlight reel for Glastonbury’s Keyion Dixon in the Tomahawks’ 27-7 victory over Hall on Friday.
WEST HARTFORD >> As they finished with the customary postgame handshakes, Keyion Dixon’s Glastonbury High teammates were gathering just outside one of the end zones at Chalmers Stadium.
Dixon, the mercurial quarterback and UConn commit, was among the last players to make his way through the line and was still feeling the brunt of the leg cramps that twice forced him out of Friday night’s season-opening 27-7 win over Hall. Each step was a bit on the painful side.
Still, he walked by his teammates, through the end zone, removed his helmet and took a knee right in front of the goal post. There might have been some curious onlookers wondering about this ritual, but not his teammates. Dixon has done pretty much the same thing after each and every game in which he has played. Dixon drops to one knee, gathers his thoughts and says a prayer.
“Every game I give glory to God because he makes everything possible,” Dixon said after rushing for 219 yards and three touchdowns. “Without him I am nothing, so I have to give him the glory. Every game since I was young, my mom has instilled in me the faith in God.
“He showcases my talent through me and, as you can see, he actually did that tonight.”
The prayers before and after the games began around the time Dixon’s interest in football began, at about 10 or 11. His spirituality is something his teammates and coaches know helps mold the person and player he is today.
“He is a great kid, a spiritual kid and it keeps him grounded, keeps him reflective,” Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels said.
Daniels chuckles about the first time he had a chance to coach Dixon.
“As a freshman, Keyion was like a big, baby giraffe with this big, long body,” Daniels said. “You knew he had some athletic gifts and it just took him time to grow into that body. He is something else. It is very rare that you find a guy who is 6-3 and runs a 4.4 40 and is just as athletic as heck. We knew he was going to be special, it was just a matter of figuring out the game.”
Watching Dixon rip off scoring runs of 89 and 40 yards, it’s obvious he knows what to do when he has the ball in his hands.
Above: Junior highlight reel for Glastonbury’s Keyion Dixon.
The 185-pounder fits the prototype tall, rangy receiver preferred by UConn coach Bob Diaco. He actually lined up as a slot receiver on Glastonbury’s first offensive play, but was at quarterback the rest of the time. He also played free safety, fielded kickoffs and punts and punted.
“That is what he does,” Daniels said. “Give him the ball, let him run in open space and he is going to make something happen.”
Senior guard Samuel Pirsig, who has thrown key blocks on many of Dixon’s most scintillating runs, knows he doesn’t need much room to break off a huge gain.
“He can do anything. Once he is open, he is gone.”
Dixon is able to keep tabs on how the Huskies are doing with more ease than the other six Class of 2016 players committed to UConn. Glastonbury High is only seven miles from Rentschler Field.
“Those guys looked good last week with the win and they have a lot of young guys making plays for them,” Dixon said. “So I feel like the addition of me and the recruits in 2016, with those young guys they have now, all of that coming together is a great mix.”
So what was it that sold Dixon on UConn?
“I really felt at home,” Dixon said. “The coaching staff was great, the players were outstanding. The energy they have right now going for them is really amazing.”
It is also something that excites so many people in the Glastonbury community.
“It is going to be nice where we can get to a game and see him play, it is going to be special,” Daniels said. “Keyion really sold himself because of his numbers, his measureables as far what he can run in the 40 and all that stuff. So when he goes there, he showcases very well and then it was just a matter of the coaches having a relationship with him and Keyion being comfortable.”
Dixon bonded with many of the current UConn players. But on his visit, there was one player who he really connected with.
“(Sophomore cornerback) Jamar Summers, he was really good to me when I went there. He is a funny guy, always cracking jokes, but then when it is time to get down to business and play football, it is time to play football. He is locked in on every play.”