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Student Athlete of the Week – Dawson Johnson

How would you describe him as a football player?

"Hard worker, determined, tenacious," said Palm Desert head coach Rudy Forti. "Just gets after it." 

Dawson Johnson is a football enthusiast. He didn't find football, football found him. 

"I never really played football growing up. I grew up in Canada," said Johnson. "So a big soccer family, surprisingly, not hockey, but my dad was a big soccer player played professionally. So it was always like soccer, soccer, soccer, and then we moved down here. I played a little bit of flag football, but never really took it seriously." 

Until he did, and what a great decision. Johnson had an electric football career for Palm Desert, a human highlight reel that plays with purpose.

"I never really knew that I was going to fall in love with the sport the way I did. It was just it was a great way to make friends especially coming from a small private school," said Johnson. "But I'm so glad that it came to be." 

"Really focused. Just getting the job done. Around the boys in the portable and locker room. He cuts up with the best of him," said Forti. "I mean, he's a happy go lucky kid. He just he loves life." 

There's a standard here at Palm Desert. Do you feel like he represents the Aztecs? 

"Oh, yes. He did a great job for us. We needed things to happen. We'd always turn to Dawson. He was the guy that we would always talk about," said Forti. 

"This school cares about football, and I really appreciate that," said Johnson. "It's been awesome seeing the way the Aztec Army has graduated from like the school spirit even from us being top 100 team in the state my sophomore year to last year we were very good. And then this year, obviously not so much. But that's still school pride is still there."

Johnson was also a key piece to Palm Desert winning a soccer CIF championship back in February. I asked him what moments stuck out from his career. 

"I mean not many people can say they won CIF. But in football, getting the Flag back this year felt pretty damn good," said Johnson. 

The joy and passion Johnson has is what stands out the most. If he's on the field, it's all gas, no brakes, 

"Jack of all trades," said Forti.  

"I'm going to make my college decision in these next couple months. Going to go play football and then I'm going to major in business. So then after that, my goal is obviously going to be to make it to the NFL but I'm also realistic," said Johnson. "And I'd love to be in the front office of a sports team." 

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Bailey Arredondo

Bailey Arredondo is a Sports Anchor/Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. He joined the Desert’s News Leader in January 2022 here.


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