Former Culpeper High School football standout Adwela Dawes has gone on a long and winding journey through the unglamorous world of arena league football.
He has traveled to towns that most others know as specks on a map. There was the stint with the San Angelo (Texas) Stampede and the stop with the Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Outlaws. There was the year with the Marion (Ohio) Blue Racers, and the stay with the Chesapeake Tide.
Last winter, Dawes injured his knee and was released by the Blue Racers. He figured it was finally time to let his dream fade, but he also decided it was time to bring that dream to others.
He is now in the process of bringing a professional arena league football team to the Fredericksburg area. “I think it’ll be great, because this area is such a blooming area,” said Dawes, who is also an assistant coach for Spotsylvania High School’s football team. “The team has the potential to take off and really do some good things.”
Dawes currently manages the Virginia Knights in the Indoor Championship Football League, a kind of minor league system for the more successful arena leagues.
But Dawes said the new team, the Virginia Badgers, will compete in the American Indoor Football Association, which is just one level below the popular Arena Football League. He is still looking for a facility, but said the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center in Richmond would be the team’s most likely option for its first year. He said the Fredericksburg Field House or even the Fredericksburg Expo Center could ultimately serve as a home field.
Even though the team might not play its games here, Dawes said the roster will have a decidedly Fredericksburg feel. The Virginia Knights are loaded with former area high school standouts, including Bryn Barham (Chancellor), Gage Ford (James Monroe), Dominique Smith (Massaponax) and Sean Hill (Colonial Forge). Dawes said most of the Knights will be invited to the Badgers’ training camp, which could begin in January. But he said the new team will be more than simply transfers from the old one.
Dawes, who will be the team’s coach, general manager and owner, said he hopes to pay players “a couple hundred dollars” per game. Practices will be held two to three times a week, with the understanding that most of the players will have full-time jobs that come first.
“You try to be flexible,” Dawes said. “We tend to practice later in the evening so guys have time to get off work, say hi to the wife and kids, and come to practice.”
Original Article: fredericksburg.com