David Hawkins burst onto the high school sports landscape in La Plata County as a freshman. Four years later, his impact on Bayfield High School athletics was undeniable.
Hawkins was all over the football field in 2018, when the Wolverines faced a stiff test each week as the defending Class 2A state champions. Bayfield was unable to repeat as champion with a 21-13 quarterfinal loss on the road at Faith Christian, but BHS had a memorable run to another Class 2A Intermountain League championship and finished with an 8-2 record.
In the spring, Hawkins was a sensation in the shot put throwing circle for BHS. He won the Class 3A shot put state championship with a throw of 51-feet, blowing away second-place Henry Fritzler of Eaton, who threw 48-2.75.
His performance on the football field paired with his shot put state championship led Hawkins to be named The Durango Herald Boys Athlete of the Year for 2018-19. It’s the fourth consecutive year the award has gone to a Bayfield High School boy following Zane Phelps, Sam Westbrook and Ryan Phelps.
“It’s definitely something you shoot for,” Hawkins said of the honor. “I remember Zane getting it when I was a freshman, and I got the Freshman of the Year award. I was reading the article about Zane getting it, and it was something that went through my mind every once in a while. I wanted to go out and try to perform the way those guys before me did, and I’m happy to be listed with those guys.”
In football, Hawkins was named to the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 2A First Team All-State list as a running back and linebacker. Despite numerous injuries, he ran for 1,109 yards and nine touchdowns in 10 games. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Hawkins also added eight catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. In the league championship game at Salida, Hawkins ran for a 17-yard touchdown that gave Bayfield a late 16-14 lead after it trailed 14-0 early. He then hauled in a touchdown pass from Keyon Prior to solidify a 22-14 victory.
In the state quarterfinals, Hawkins had what he called his most memorable offensive play of the season when he hauled in a Hayden Farmer pass and ran 69 yards down the field. One play later, he scored on a 3-yard run, and that got Bayfield to within 21-13. It would be the last time Hawkins touched the ball in a Wolverines uniform.
“That catch meant a lot,” Hawkins said. “My final game of my senior year, and I made a big game changer that got us close to coming back into it.”
Defensively, Hawkins led Bayfield with 102 total tackles, 49 solo and 53 assisted. He had eight sacks and two fumble recoveries with one returned for a touchdown against Montezuma-Cortez. He also had an interception returned for a touchdown the opening game of the season at Farmington, and it came on the first play of the game.
“I had that pick-six at Farmington, and I had called it earlier in the week,” Hawkins said. “We had been watching that play on film, and I was joking with my defensive coordinator how I knew that it was going to happen.”
On special teams, he blocked two punts and also served as the Bayfield punter. He took pride in playing in all three phases of the game despite battling injuries. His coaches allowed him to take some practices off so he could be available for every game.
“Sometimes maybe he wasn’t in practice, but he was always there supporting the team,” BHS head coach Gary Heide said. “His overall leadership and encouragement of the entire team was big. He was always there for the right reasons, and he was always really focusing on the games because they meant a lot to him. Games have been a big part of his life, and playing every one of them was his big focus.
“And any time you talk about David Hawkins, who have to say something about his leadership in academics. He was somebody who would talk to younger players and tell them, ‘This is how you should do it. Be a top scholar and an athlete.’”
Hawkins, son of Cindy and Frank Hawkins, had the joy of being coached by his father, who was the line coach for football and coached him in throwing during track and field season. The son was determined to break his father’s personal record in shot put of 57-02. Frank, however, will keep bragging rights over his son in that regard, as David’s record is 56-06. After Hawkins won the state title, his dad was first to embrace him after his final high school athletic event.
“Being coached by my dad was pretty special,” Hawkins said. “To be together the whole season and finishing it up like that, it was huge for me.
“As a junior and getting second at state, it definitely made it to where my senior year I had to go out and get first. It was in the back of my mind all year. I was competing against myself every week.”
Hawkins wasn’t the only phenom on the track and field team for Bayfield, as senior hurdler and jumper Jordan Lanning was named the Herald’s Girls Athlete of the Year after she won three state championships. They both admired each other’s accomplishments.
“David is such a great athlete and is an unbelievable thrower,” Lanning said. “I’m not sure that him and I ever talked about what made us successful, but we are both really dedicated athletes and want to do anything to win. What he accomplished was really awesome, and for us to both end our careers with a state championship is really special.”
Dawson Marcum, Durango High SchoolHawkins edged Durango’s Dawson Marcum for the Herald award, with his shot put state title pushing him past Marcum. The Durango senior was a CHSAA Class 3A All-State Second Team selection in football after he ran for 1,131 yards and 11 touchdowns in 11 games, an average of 7.9 yards per carry. He also was 3-for-3 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Marcum made 94 tackles from his cornerback position. He also had two touchdowns and a fumble recovery and was key in the return game.
“I’ve been playing Dawson since middle school football, and he’s always been a great athlete,” Hawkins said. “Whenever you play against someone like that, it creates a different atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun to know you have someone on the other team who is going to push you, and you gotta do your absolute best to come out on top against a guy like that.”
Marcum also played through numerous injuries during football. He returned to the field for spring baseball season and hit for a .333 with two doubles and a triple along with 20 runs, 11 runs batted in and eight stolen bases. He played center field every day.
While Hawkins looks every bit the part of a Division I football player at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Marcum came in at 5-10, 165 pounds and never backed down from boys much larger.
“Dawson, he’s just put in so much work throughout his high school career in the weight room and with film and all that other stuff,” DHS football coach David Vogt said. “But the thing that impressed me the most was how tough that kid was. He would never go down; it was like watching Walter Payton run the football. His 99-yard run against Pagosa, I’ll never forget that. He ran over two guys, juked two guys and ran past the rest of the team. Him and Max Hyson are the two toughest kids who have come through the program. Nails that kid is.”
Keyon Prior, Bayfield High SchoolHawkins also edged fellow Bayfield star Keyon Prior, who had his senior season cut short in football and basketball because of nagging injuries. Heide said Prior was the kind of player who had to be pulled off the field during practice because he always wanted to be there.
In all, Hawkins was part of two state championship football teams and helped the boys track team to a state title in 2018. Prior also will leave BHS a two-time state champion in football, with some of the most memorable plays in program history attributed to his name.
Hawkins will go on to play college football at Monterey Peninsula College in California. Though he had offers from much larger schools, he hopes to turn a year or two of junior college football into his Division I dream.
“This town of Bayfield means a lot to me,” Hawkins said. “This community has supported sports and me like crazy in every way they can. I wouldn’t have had it any other way than playing with this group of kids that I’ve been able to. These friendships I’ve made, it’s pretty amazing.”
Editor’s note: The Durango Herald selected high school sports players of the year based on a unanimous decision between sports editor John Livingston and sports writer Brendan Ploen. Increased consideration was given to multi-sport athletes who showed leadership in their communities.