Dawson County vs. Ringgold
Records: No. 1 7-AAA Dawson County (7-3), No. 4 6-AAA Ringgold (6-4)
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight
Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
Game notes: Dawson County is fresh off its first region championship in school history. Coach Sid Maxwell arrived in Dawsonville this April, after stints at Lambert and Sequoyah, and quickly transformed a 2-8 team in to region champs.
Maxwell is known for running an offensive system that best fits his players and decided to implement a spread offense this season for the Dawson County Tigers which differs from the Wing-T he ran at Lambert. Dawson County ran a hybrid Wing-T offense last season without much success. Under the spread formation, sophomore quarterback Coey Watson has thrived, throwing for 1,556 yards and 12 touchdowns. Watson is also second on the team in rushing with 112 carries for 346 yards and eight touchdowns. The dual-threat nature of the sophomore quarterback adds an extra dimension to the Dawson County offense that the Ringgold defense will look to contain.
The Ringgold defense has given up an average of 22.4 points per game but has two shutouts on the season and has held their last three opponents to seven or fewer points. The Ringgold Tigers run a pass-heavy offense. Senior quarterback Devin Lancaster leads the attack with 2,080 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. Five different recievers have caught a touchdowns for Ringgold. Freshman receiver Andre Tarver is Ringgold's deep threat averaging over 25 yards a catch for a total of 707 yards and six touchdowns, his longest touchdown went for 80 yards. Junior receiver Mac Brower leads the team with 30 catches.
Where Ringgold likes to pass, Dawson County likes to run. Dawson County's leading rusher, senior Hunter Mitchell, has run for almost as many yards (920) as Ringgold's entire team (939). Mitchell is averaging 7.5 yards a carry and has scored nine touchdowns.
Dawson County enters tonight having won three straight games and six of the last seven. Following their only loss during that stretch, Dawson County preceded to outscore its next three opponents by a combined score of 113-14 including two shutouts. Ringgold has also won three straight with an impressive 103-20 combined score.
The winner tonight will play the winner of the Spencer (7-3)/Washington County (5-5) matchup.
The Dawson County Tigers are calling for a white-out when the Region 7-AAA champs take on Ringgold in the first round of the state playoffs in Dawsonville tonight.
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m., but fans are encouraged to arrive early and bring a white towel to wave and cheer on the team. The first 1,000 fans in Tiger Stadium will also get a shaker pompom.
"Our team has a chance to do something that no other team in Dawson County has ever done," said Coach Sid Maxwell. "Our kids will represent our school and community the best we can. We want to use our fans as a 12th man."
The Tigers' 45-0 shutout against rival Lumpkin County on Oct. 23 cemented the Region 7-AAA championship, a crowning achievement for a team that has admittedly struggled for the last few seasons.
This is the first region championship in Dawson County's 49-year history. The Tigers ended the regular season with a 7-3 record.
The win over Lumpkin guaranteed a first round state home game against the No. 4 seed from Region 6-AAA, while Ringgold defeated North Murray, 28-6, to secure the number four spot and a state playoff berth.
With an overall record of 6-4 and a region record of 5-3, Ringgold is an established playoff team, which "makes them dangerous," according to Maxwell.
"Ringgold really throws the ball around a lot of offense," he said.
However, he added: "There are thirty-two schools left in the playoffs and right now we all on even grounds."
Sophomore quarterback Coey Watson, who finished the regular season with 2,009 total yards, said he believes his Tigers can outplay any team in the state "if we play like we've done" the last three Friday nights.
Watson rushed 116 times this season for 343 yards and eight touchdowns. He also completed 119 of 213 passes for 1,666 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Admission is $8. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.