Dawson County will renew an age-old rivalry this Friday when the team plays host to neighboring Lumpkin County in what will be called “The Gold Mine Classic.”
It has been two years since the Tigers and Indians have played.
The Tigers won the last match up by a big margin 42-10, in 2005.
The Tigers have won three out of the last four meetings with the Indians, dating back to 2002.
“Were glad to be playing them again after a two year hiatus,” Tiger head coach Jeff Lee said.
“It’s going to be an exciting game. We expect a large crowd. The game has been named the Gold Mine Classic. There will be a gold mine cart as a reward. On it will be painted all the scores from every game that has been played between the two schools. The winner gets to keep the cart. It should be a tough physical game for us,” he added.
Lumpkin will have 22 seniors on this year’s team. The Indians will have Coach Tommy Jones, in his third season, at the helm.
After going 0-10 two years ago, the Indians rebounded with an impressive 5-5 season last year.
Lumpkin County will have to replace Cameron and Ken Jackson in the backfield. Both backs accounted for over 2,000 all-purpose yards last season.
“We will try to control what we can control and get better,” Jones said. “Pound the rock is still our motto.”
“Coach Jones will do a great job and have them well prepared. With them playing triple A football they have somewhat better opponents than what we have had over the last couple of years. That’s a big plus for them. He has gotten the numbers out and they have improved,” Lee said about his team’s upcoming opponent.
Offensively, the Indians will rely heavily on quarterback Daniel Abercrombie.
“We will need him to carry the load,” Jones said. Lumpkin will have only four starters back onoffense and will be led by offensive tackle Josh Scott, who was injured most of last season.
“He’s huge and very athletic,” Jones said. “I am sure that he is going to have a great year.”
“The quarterback is back for them and most of their defense will be back,” said Lee.
“They are missing some in their backfield, but they will rely heavily on their quarterback. He has got to be the first we have got to stop.”
Lumpkin’s defense will be the team’s strength this season. The Indians return seven starters from a team that allowed 25 points per game last year.
Linebackers Lance Chuvala, Ben Ayres, Brandon Roberts and Micah Davis will be counted on to reduce the number of points given up this campaign.
Ayres will also handle the field goals for Lumpkin. Ayres connected on 12-of-14 field goals last season.
“The biggest thing is that we are not going to go down there and beat ourselves,” said Lee.
“We have got to allow our defensive folks to get in the flow of the game and stop their option attack. In option football you have to do assignment ball on defense,” he added.
The biggest secret coming off the Dawson camp is who will be the starting quarterback Friday night.
“Our starting quarterback will be a game time decision. We may not decide until right before game time,” Lee said.
“We can’t go in and turn it over. We can’t have penalties like we did in our scrimmage game,” Lee added.
Lumpkin played its preseason scrimmage against West Forsyth last week and lost 17-14 to the Wolverines.
The Tigers traveled to Sonoraville and came away with a 7-0 win.
This Friday night the lights will come on for real. The long expected beginning of another season will begin to unfold.
“We are so appreciative to our sponsors Chik-fil-A and John Megel Chevrolet that they are involved with this game,” said Lee.
“We are expecting a big crowd here. It could be the largest crowd ever to witness a football game at Tiger Stadium,” Lee remarked.
“It is going to be a pretty exciting night. If we can cut out mistakes it should be a close, physical, good high school football game,” he added.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Lee suggests that fans arrive early because of the expected large crowd.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.