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Soccer boys, girls advance to state
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Nobody likes rain delays.

But perhaps the bad weather last week that halted the varsity girls soccer game halfway through the first half was not entirely unwelcome.

Dawson County, currently ranked No. 6 in the state, was hosting Oglethorpe County in a Region 8-AA Playoff game with a spot in the State Tournament on the line.

The Patriots had taken a 1-0 lead over Dawson County when the weather forced a stoppage in play at the 23:59 mark.

During the two-day break, The Lady Tigers had plenty of time to think about the situation they found themselves in, while head coach Jed Lacey felt the pressure was squarely on the shoulders of the higher-seeded Dawson County team.

I think that had a lot to do with the way we played the first 24 minutes, said Lacey. I felt we were not playing to win, we were playing not to lose.

When the two teams resumed the battle two days later, Dawson looked like a different team.

We were calm and ready to go, Lacey said. We made the adjustments we needed to.

The Lady Tigers finally broke through as freshman midfielder Taylor Bennett scored her fifth goal of the season (with an assist by Brittany Duffy) with 33:56 remaining in the second period to tie the game 1-1.

With the game coming down to the final minutes, Dawson forward Riley Cox scored the winning goal (her fifth of the season) with just 7:56 remaining in the game (with an assist by Bennett).

Starting the second day of play, Lady Tigers goalkeeper Kena Seitz kept everyone on the field calm with her leadership and experience, Lacey said.

Helping shut down the Oglethorpe County offense was the dominating play of Brooke Duffy, Jade Perry, Morgan Huber, Anna Hawkins, Brooke Shively, and Emily Stowers.

The Dawson defensive players, observed Lacey, each came up with their personal best games all in the same night.

With the victory, the Lady Tigers improved to a 13-2 record this season.

Dawson County will continue competition in the Region playoffs this week before the State Playoffs begin next week.

Boys win over

Elbert County

Faced with a game knotted 1-1 at halftime, the Dawson County varsity boys soccer team put together a second-half attack that left Elbert County behind and put the Tigers in the State Playoffs.

Looking for its eighth win in the past 10 games, Dawson came out prepared to play the Blue Devils. We knew exactly how they play their system, said head coach Jed Lacey, and we matched up perfectly with what their strengths were.

Currently ranked No. 10 in the state, the Tigers jumped on top first as junior forward Josh Lund scored his seventh goal of season off an assist from Brandon Lund midway through the first half.

Elbert County scored six minutes later to send the game to halftime tied 1-1.

But Dawson County junior Chris Bywaletz had the answer, as the midfielder got an assist from Brandon Lund and scored his fourth goal of the season to put the Tigers up 2-1 early in the second half.

Sam Wentworth then added a little insurance with his fourth goal of the season to give Dawson County a 3-1 victory and improve the Tigers record to 10-5.

What a big win. Lacey said. The pressure of winning the first game in the Region Tournament that puts you in State is unreal.

After losing several players earlier in the season, Dawson County has still persevered.

It is almost unthinkable what these boys have done, the coach said. We will do what we have to do to keep this dream season going.

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