ELKINS ELKS QB DEAN AND RB CHAIRS ARE DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR OPPOSING DEFENSES
By Don Lowe | Photos by Mark Strickland Photos
After an impressive 2022 that culminated at 10-2 overall, along with a perfect 7-0 in 4A-1 play and outright conference championship, third-year Football Head Coach Zach Watson’s Elkins Elks bunch can’t help but be excited about the possibilities for greater success this Fall.
Having the dynamic duo of senior quarterback Dizzy Dean (6’2”, 190 lbs.) and senior running back Da’Shawn Chairs (5’8”, 190 lbs.) returning sure helps give Elkins a chance to shine bright on offense, while presenting opposition defenses with a double dose of headaches on Friday nights.
Dean was spectacular a season ago, passing for 2,850 yards and 41 total touchdowns, as well as completing more than 70 percent of his throws. Chairs churned his way to more than 1,800 yards of rushing real estate and 31 TDs, while averaging more than 10 yards per carry, as well as catching 26 passes for nearly 250 yards.
Coach Watson knows he’s fortunate this prolific pair of prime-time performers suits up for the Elks and assures, “Dizzy is the hardest-working player I have ever coached. He is a cerebral and intelligent player with great instincts, which is critical when playing quarterback.
“The thing that sets Dizzy apart is his accuracy to all parts of the field. Da’Shawn is the best running back I’ve ever coached. He has unbelievable speed and quickness, along with great vision to let blocks develop. His ability to stop and start and be at max speed after two steps sets him apart.”
In evaluating his own abilities, Dean says, “I’ve always been a competitive person and had a lot of fire to be successful, so that’s helped me grow as a quarterback. I’ve been willing to work hard to get where I’m at today. I was also blessed with a strong arm and that’s helped me tremendously.”
Chairs assesses of himself that, “I have the breakaway speed of a back, as well as a low center of gravity to be able to make those hard cuts and stay low to the ground.”
When Coach Watson considers what he marvels at most about Dean it’s “His accuracy and his preparation leading up to a game. Having a career 75 percent completion percentage with the amount of attempts he has is impressive but not shocking.
“Dizzy prepares so hard through the week with film study and practice that the game is almost easy to him because he knows the looks he’s going to get, and where the ball needs to go, given those looks.”
As for Chairs, what amazes Coach Watson is “Just the electricity and explosiveness of Da’Shawn. He is a touchdown machine. When I think an opponent has him bottled up, he finds a way to get out of it and into the endzone.”
Dean suggests the main keys to improvement throughout his high school career are, “Getting in the weight room helped me tremendously. I went from a weak 150-pound sophomore to being a strong 190-pound senior. The extra weight has helped me move better in and outside the pocket.”
The way Chairs sees it as far as his progress is that “The main thing that keeps me getting better is the people and coaches that surround me and pushing me to be the best me, physically and mentally.”
Thinking about what is most important to playing his position at a high level, Dean maintains it starts with “Understanding the mental side of the game and how to best get the ball to receivers in space.
“There are hundreds of quarterbacks who can sling it. But the few who understand the game and how to pick apart a defense are the most successful.”
When he lines up in the offensive backfield, Chairs rationalizes, “The most important thing as a running back is patience, as well as trusting your line and being grateful for those big boys who don’t get much love, because they make me look the way I do.”
These talented teammates know they complement each other perfectly and Dean reasons, “I think ‘Shawn and I make a great duo because we’ve made our offense more balanced.
“Teams we play load the box to try and stop ‘Shawn. Then, I’ll step back and throw it around for a half. After that, in the second half, teams will drop back to stop the pass and ‘Shawn will explode running the football.”
Chairs raves, “Having Dizzy opens up the offense. It’s great having an amazing quarterback who cares for the game more than anyone. And he’s going to put us in position to win.”
These young men lead the way for Elkins and Coach Watson speaks glowingly of them in saying, “Dizzy’s and Da’Shawn’s character is second to none. They are hard workers on and off the field. They’re leaders of our team and in the classroom.
“What makes me most proud is the way they attack every day, trying to be the best at everything they do. They are at our facility at 6 a.m. to get their first workouts of the day and it continues all day long until they walk off the practice/game field.”
Dean and Chairs are sure to make football fans in Elkins burst with a great deal of pride throughout the season ahead as they strive to accomplish big things together.
Elkins Elks Senior High Football Star Dizzy Dean Fast Facts
Grade in School: Senior
Parents: Mark & Krista Dean
Siblings: Sister, Zoie, and Brother, Stone
Favorite Subject in School: History
Favorite Food: Barbecue
Favorite Football Movie: Remember the Titans
Favorite Pro Football Player: Retired New York Giants Star Quarterback Eli Manning
Elkins Senior High Football Star Da’Shawn Chairs Fast Facts
Grade in School: Senior
Parents: Dad, Alexis Chairs & Mom, Kesha Snell
Siblings: No siblings
Favorite Subject in School: Science
Favorite Food: Ribs & Baked Beans
Favorite Football Movie: The Longest Yard
Favorite Pro Football Player: Retired NFL Hall of Famer & Detroit Lions Star Running Back Barry Sanders