Frustration was evident on Dawson County Head Football Coach Jeff Lee's face as time expired Friday night. The Tigers fell 19-14 to Banks County.
The Tigers had an opportunity to go 2-0 in Region 8A-AA with a win, but it didn't happen.
Banks County used a "never give up" attitude to help the team defeat Lee's team and jump into a first place tie in the sub-region with East Hall.
East Hall destroyed Union County 33-3 last week. Union County will be the Tigers next opponent at Tigers Stadium on Friday.
For three quarters Dawson's defense was like a brick wall. The Tigers allowed Banks only 87 total yards and a single touchdown.
A fourth quarter meltdown by the Tigers defense led to two long drives by the Leopards and the win. Nothing the Leopards tried on offense amounted to much of anything for 36 minutes. But in the final quarter Banks marched on 75 and 91-yard drives to come away with a 5-point win.
On the opening kickoff Banks was successful with an onside kick recovery.
The Leopards offense only picked up five-yards and punted the ball to Dawson. The Tigers defense forced Banks to punt on its first three possessions. Banks ran only nine offensive plays during that time.
Lee's offense took advantage of one of the defensive stops to go on a nine play drive that covered 54-yards.
Fullback Zack Martin rambled more than five-yards for the score with only 52 seconds left in the first quarter.
Martin had a good night rushing for the Tigers. He ran for 137 yards on 23 carries and both Dawson touchdowns.
Max Muldoon added the extra point and Dawson held a 7-0 lead.
On the Tigers' next possession, quarterback Tyler Dominy threw an interception that gave Banks the ball at its own 44-yard line.
The junior quarterback looked out of rhythm all evening. Despite his sluggish appearance he still finished 11-for-24 with 187 yards.
Part of Dawson's problem was the injury to receiver Bruce Clark. Clark was noticeably not at full speed. He was playing on an injured ankle he sustained in practice more than a week ago.
Clark had only two catches for eight yards.
The Tigers' defensive squad answered the call and stopped Banks on the 16-yard line, forcing a field goal. Leopards kicker Ermain Corona missed a 33-yard attempt wide right and Dawson held on to its one touchdown lead.
Another miscue by Dawson gave the ball right back to the Leopards.
Dominy dropped back to pass and threw his second interception of the game. Banks had the ball on its own 23-yard line with 3:02 to play before halftime.
Dawson's defense came up big again and forced Banks to punt. However, on the return Dawson fumbled and the Leopards recovered. It was the third turnover of the half for Dawson County.
This time the Leopards took advantage of the turnover and scored from 5-yards out on a run by quarterback Tyler Hubbard. Corona added the extra point.
At halftime the score was tied 7-7.
Banks County took its first lead with 8:41 left in the game. Running back Tanner Thompson scored from one-yard out to cap off a seven-play, 75-yard drive. Corona missed the extra point and Banks held a 13-7 lead.
Lee's offense answered on its next possession. The highlight of the eight-play drive was a Dominy to Will Anglin 51-yard pass play.
Anglin had a great night for the Tigers. He caught five passes for 96 yards.
Martin punched the ball in from two-yards out. With the extra point by Muldoon, the Tigers held a 14-13 advantage with 5:45 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Banks touched the ball out-of-bounds on its own nine-yard line.
The Leopards used 15-plays and 5:13 of the clock to score the game winning touchdown with only 32 seconds left. Senior Dean Ewing scored from one-yard out and gave Banks a 19-14 advantage.
The 2-point conversion was no good.
Dawson County finished the night with 304 yards total offense. The Leopards had 264 yards total with 166 of those coming on the team's last two drives.
The Tigers will be at home this week against a struggling 1-5 Union County team. It is a must win for Dawson County to have any hopes of getting a desirable slot in the playoffs.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. at Tigers Stadium.