Coming off a big win against Chattooga and an early season bye week, the Dawson County Tigers are ready to travel to Oakwood for this week's matchup against the West Hall Spartans.
"It's hard having an early season bye week because everyone wants to get out on the field and play, especially after a good team win the previous week," said Andy LeBlanc, offensive coordinator for the Tigers. "We took the extra time to work on some things that needed attention and to move a few kids around to maximize their talent and our depth."
"We have a limited number of games played," said Head Coach Sid Maxwell. "We are trying to stay focused on us before we get ready for a bunch of games on the road."
Last year's game was a region matchup that Dawson County won 17-0. The teams are not region foes this season as West Hall moved to Region 7AAAA.
It proved to be mainly a ground game with Coey Watson passing for 38 yards and Hunter Mitchell rushing for 157, last season.
"West Hall was a very athletic team last year with two Division I prospects in the secondary," LeBlanc said. "We came into the game knowing we would need to establish the run to be successful."
It was also a ground game for the Spartans with full back Tyrese Osborne running for more than 100 yards against the Tigers.
"Tyrese had about 150 yards on us last year, but we were able to keep him out of the end zone," said Head Coach Sid Maxwell. "They may be a little more balanced this year. We will have to defend the run and the pass."
This time around Osborne is a senior.
As for the Tigers offense, the plan is to do whatever it takes.
"I think we have a pretty balanced offense," LeBlanc said. "We will continue to attack the defense in any way we feel we have an advantage. As a coaching staff, it is our job to put our players in a position to be successful. We will do this by not forcing any part of our offense."
Without Mitchell in the run game, Dawson will continue to go to Taylor Cronan and Payton Myers on the ground with Watson available on the option.
Watson will also be looking for receivers Austin Young and Kolton Brumbelow.
Since it is not a region game, Maxwell says it is another game the coaches can use to evaluate the team moving forward.
"I think the West Hall game last year was the point in the season where our kids really started to believe in themselves and each other. It was a very big win for us not just because it was our first region win, but it also gave the team confidence going forward," LeBlanc said.
The Tigers kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Oakwood.