2016 Dawson County Tigers Football
8/26 Forsyth Central
9/02 at Chattooga
9/16 at West Hall
9/23 White County
9/30 at North Hall
10/07 Union County
10/14 at Fannin County
10/21 at East Hall
10/28 Lumpkin County
11/04 Greater Atlanta Christian
The Dawson County Tigers will open the 2016 football season at home against Forsyth Central, according to schedules released by the Georgia High School Association.
Dawson County football had its most successful season to date last year under Coach Sid Maxwell in his first season at Dawson. The Tigers finished their season 9-4 overall and 5-1 in the region setting a school record for most wins.
"You've got to have a short memory. It's time to go back to work," said Maxwell about last season's unprecedented success.
"We've lost some good seniors but obviously it's an opportunity for other guys to step up. It's what makes the game fun. Like I told them, it was hard to get on top of the mountain and it's even harder to stay there."
The defending 7-AAA region champs take on the Bulldogs on August 26. Forsyth Central will be competing in the new AAAAAAA classification during its season under a new head coach, Frank Helper.
Opponents the Tigers did not face last season include Chattooga, White County, Union County and Greater Atlanta Christian. Region play will begin on Sept. 30 when Dawson faces North Hall away.
"I think it' a little tougher competition we are playing," Maxwell said about the upcoming season and schedule. "I had to reach out and get some other teams. Region-wise with North Hall and also have GAC, it's going to be very competitive."
The Tigers made it to the quarterfinals in the state last season, but Maxwell says he doesn't feel pressured.
"I am not results-driven. I don't worry about the score. I focus more on making sure we get player development," Maxwell said.
"We are trying to really build a structure. If you want to stay on top you have to have strong development underneath. We didn't have a ninth grade schedule and we have one next year. I have taken the eighth grade over. I have from eighth grade up."
He is even working with park and rec to look at sixth and seventh graders as they prepare to make their way into the Dawson County school system for football. He wants to ensure that the kids learn the system from an early age.
"It all comes down to who's first to the ball. You've either got it or you are chasing it and we are not going to win if we chase it," he said.
Region 7-AAA player of the year, Coey Watson, will return at quarterback.