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Assistants optimistic about Tigers chances on gridiron
Football pic 1
Assistant coaches Van Samples and Jed Lacey direct the Dawson defense in a recent passing scrimmage at Habersham Central High School. - photo by Photo/Amanda Daly

Coach Clint Freeland, who has been coaching at Dawson County the last 10 years, recently gave some insight to his young defensive line for the upcoming season.


“We will be younger overall from last year, but they have worked hard in the offseason, so we’ll still have good size and strength up front,” said Freeland.


“We expect good things from this year’s group. We’ve talked several times as a coaching staff about how our players have taken more of a leadership role and really bought into what it takes to get better as a team,” he added.


Offensive coordinator Doug Miolen brings a wealth of talent to the Tiger coaching staff.


Miolen has had stops in several schools around the state, including Henry County, Columbus, Lovejoy, Mt. Zion, Banks County, North Hall, Towns County and for the last five years at Dawson County.


“Knock on wood, but this is the best I’ve seen us this early,” Miolen said.


“Our seniors are really standing out. They have been in this system now for five years, one with the middle school when I was down there, and it is really starting to pay off. These kids know what I’m thinking before I say it. It’s scary,” he added.


“Cody Tobias, Evan Weatherford, Kelsey Boyle, Justin Wende, John Knudsen, Eian Perry and TJ Byrd have had outstanding camps so far,” Miolen said of who was standing out on the team so far.


“The last couple of years, I thought we would be pretty good and we didn’t end up where I thought we would. So this year, I’m going to be a little more low-key. If our seniors step up big, like I know they can, we will be fine,” said Miolen.


Coaching veteran Van Samples has been a defensive coordinator for 10 of the 19 years of his coaching career. This is his fourth year at Dawson County, but he has a wide variety of coaching experience with stops at Buford, Duluth, North Gwinnett, Jackson County, Flowery Branch and West Hall.


“We do not have as much experience on defense as we had last year, but we have more speed overall,” Samples said. 


“The kids are working hard and buying into our philosophy so I look forward to us being more consistent this year, as a team, on defense,” he added.


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