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Doddridge’s Knight moving up to the big role in 2021

WEST UNION — Doddridge County’s Dylan Knight has a new gig on the gridiron.

Well, it isn’t brand new.

He’s ran the ball for head coach Bobby Burnside before 2021. Reese Burnside and him nearly split carries running the football last year with Knight being at full back.

But now, he’s taking over as the primary running back for a Bulldog team, who as usual, is relying heavily on the run. Bobby felt it was best for the team at the end of last season for him to take over as the top back, so the head coach made it so.

Knight’s skills will be put to the test as soon as possibly the first snap of the season against South Harrison on Aug. 27. Whether or not the Bulldogs keep a drive alive largely depends on his ability to do the job. It is a lot for one person to take in.

Yet he’s not complaining one bit, but rather embracing every aspect of this promotion. The running. The blocking. The north-south attitude. None of these duties frighten him.

“I have been working on my footwork, agility and getting my speed up. In our offense, it is usually one cut and you go up field. So, it isn’t anything I haven’t done before and I am going to have a great line in front of me,” Knight said. “Just seeing that the coaches believe in me makes me ready to go. I have probably had the best off-season I have ever had.”

It is all going to help.

The link between being the primary running back and finding success at Doddridge County is pretty strong. Should Knight eclipse 1,000 yards rushing on the season, he would become the fourth running back of five in the last ten years to set the mark. Burnside likely would’ve hit the mark last season, but the Bulldogs’ season was cut short due to COVID-19 yet he had already ran for 948 yards in just seven games.

Meanwhile, Knight got more than halfway there with 577 yards on just 90 carries. He also scored six touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

And he did so with pointers he picked up from not only Burnside but school record holder for rushing yards in a career and 2018 Curt Warner Award winner, Hunter America.

On top of that, Knight’s already preparing to carry the ball 20 to 30 times per game as a power back. “All I did was run up the A and B gap as a fullback,” he said. “So I am pretty much already used to that.”

“He’s just got great touch, hands and vision,” Burnside said. “As far as a kid that does everything, he is definitely someone you can count on.”

That includes showing up in the big games.

In the Bulldogs’ 25-19 2020 opening round playoff loss to East Hardy, Knight wasn’t afraid to make sure the Cougars remembered his name.

The then-junior finished the game with over 100 all-purpose yards including two touchdowns. He ran in from three-yards out for the Bulldogs first score of the game. Then, later in the third quarter, he caught a 25-yard pass from Jared Jones that made the score 25-13.

It was about as good an audition as one could have. And it paid off. Now he’s itching to get on the turf at Cline Stansberry Stadium and make some noise.

“I know I have big shoes to fill, really big shoes, but I am sure I will be in really good shape and am confident I will pick up the ends and outs fairly quickly,” Knight said.

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