Success isn’t anything new for the Galax Maroon Tide.
Since former NFL player & University of Virginia standout Mark Dixon took over at the helm in 2010, the Maroon Tide have averaged 10 wins per year. In his nine seasons Dixon’s teams have made the final four an astounding five times, with two state championship appearances and one title win.
It’s impossible to have that type of run without a plethora of talent and the Tide has been blessed with many standouts.
Dixon has had three of the six players in VHSL history to rush for over 3,000 yards in a season play under him. Charles Harris, Joseph Dixon and current Virginia Tech starting tailback Steven Peoples all topped that mark. He’s coached the VHSL defensive player of year, and current Appalachian State defensive lineman Caleb Spurlin.
Looking for a standout for this years team who are 11-2 and are playing in the state semi-final? Look no further than Cade Ashworth.
The senior linebacker has been a mainstay for the 2018 edition of the Maroon Tide. The senior has put up gaudy stats all year, including 7.5 tackles, four tackles for loss and a forced fumble in Galax’s round two win vs the George Wythe Maroons.
The second round performance earned Ashworth the nod at the CoalfieldSports.com Defensive Player of the Week.
“It means a lot to be named the defensive player of the week, but it was a team effort. Everyone was doing their job and it paid off,” said Ashworth.
Galax came away with a convincing 42-14 over George Wythe in the Region C semi-final game. The point differential was most welcomed by the Maroon Tide after they escaped with a 21-14 win over the Maroons earlier in the season.
“This was a big game for us because we felt like we stole one from them in our first matchup,” said Ashworth. “We knew George Wythe was going to give us everything they had.”
The win over George Wythe allowed Galax to host Narrows in a rematch of the Region C championship game from 2017. The ‘Tide rolled over the Wave in that game to punch their ticket to the state semi-finals.
Galax is enjoying yet another successful season, sitting at 11-2 with hopes of finishing with 13 in the win column. The Maroon Tide have only had hiccups against AA Glenvar, who finished the season at 10-2, and AAA Northside, who just wrapped up their season with a 11-2 record.
“This season has been a lot of fun. My teammates and I have worked hard since July,” said Ashworth. “We have grown a lot as a team. We come in everyday just trying to get better as a team.”
The 2018 Maroon Tide haven’t looked like the Tide teams of old. Dixon’s former teams were known for their physical running game. Passes were few and far between. This year, the team has been far more balanced, rushing for over 3,000 yards but also passing for over 2,000 behind their dual-quarterback look of senior Gage Cooke and sophomore Cole Pickett.
Changing up the offensive attack has more than paid off. You can’t say Dixon doesn’t know how to coach. Just ask Ashworth.
“Coach Dixon always has us prepared leading up to the game,” said Ashworth. “We are at school every morning at 6 a.m. to watch film and lift weights. This has been a big part of our success.”
Success. That’s a word that seems to synonomous with Galax football. But when you’re playing for a coach like Mark Dixon – success is what is expected.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to play for Coach Dixon. He always expects our best,” said Ashworth. “Coach has taught me more than just football. It’s an honor to have him as a coach.”
Awaiting Ashworth & the ‘Tide this Saturday is a state semi-final rematch with the Chilhowie Warriors. A win over the Warriors would book Galax a trip to the state championship vs. either Essex or Riverheads. Galax was victorious over both of those teams during their 2015 state championship run.
However, Ashworth isn’t thinking about that.
“We just try to focus on one game at a time and the task at hand,” Galax’s senior standout stated.
The collective account for the staff of CoalfieldSports.com