Friday’s home game against the East Hall Vikings proved to be a huge night for the Dawson County Tigers on many fronts, not the least of which was putting them in position to play for a region championship and securing home field advantage for the first round of state playoffs.
Head Coach Sid Maxwell won his 150th game, running back Vaughn Clark surpassed 1,000 yards rushing with two regular season games left to play and quarterback Coey Watson accounted for six touchdowns and got a defensive interception to end the game.
The game was also Watson’s 40th start at quarterback.
“It just means I have been around a long time,” Maxwell said, laughing about the number of wins. “I have just been blessed to have an opportunity to do something I love.”
Maxwell credits the staff he has hired and the system they have put in place for the players.
“Our job is to get them to their potential, to be the best they can be,” he said.
“His passion to develop athletes so they have a chance to compete at any level is as solid as any coach in this state,” said Defensive Coordinator Brent Cox. “When comparing his success with the colleagues around him, one can quickly say that other coaches could not do what he has done. He develops a program from the ground up.”
“It is actually funny Coach Maxwell hit that milestone and not one of us knew it the whole week that he was that close to 150,” Watson said. “It goes to show you how humble he is and how he puts his team in front of his personal goals. I love the man.”
“Coach Maxwell has made a tremendous impact on my coaching career, he truly has a brilliant football mind,” said Offensive Coordinator Andy LeBlanc. “I have been with Coach Maxwell since 2009 and I am still learning so much about the game of football and running a successful program.
“Most people don’t get to see the kind of man he is. He truly loves his players. Every decision that is made within the program is based on the kids. I am incredibly blessed to have worked under him for so long.”
One of those players, Clark, transferred to Dawson County last year to have the chance to play in Maxwell’s system.
“I think Vaughn hitting 1,000 yards is not only a product of him getting more comfortable as the season goes on but also the offensive line and H backs getting better and better,” LeBlanc said.
“It was extremely important for me to get past 1,000 yards rushing because as a running back, that’s an incredibly huge milestone,” Clark said. “I couldn’t have gotten there without my line. They do such a great job opening up holes for me to do my thing and I appreciate them for that.”
Clark ran the ball 32 times for 231 yards on Oct. 20, a personal best. He said, however, that he can and wants to do more, including winning a region championship.
Watson finished Friday’s game with 295 yards of offense, 168 on the ground and another 127 through the air. He accounted for six touchdowns and is now only five shy of 100 touchdowns in his high school career.
Watson has thrown for 6,434 yards and run for another 1,708 at Dawson County.
“My first three years as a starter here, numbers meant a lot to me as far as my own personal stats and how I ranked in the region and state, but now, as a senior, I only care about our team’s scoring number and if it is more than the other team’s. I just want to win,” Watson said.
Both Clark and Watson are not surprised that the team is 6-2 and undefeated in region play and both have high expectations for the remainder of the season.
“I knew these guys were hard working and willing to put in extra hours to be successful and I also knew the coaches would put us in places to win games,” Watson said. “My expectations for the rest of the season is to finish strong and win games that people doubt us to win.”