The Dawson County varsity boys' soccer team lost a heartbreaker to North Hall, 3-2, last Tuesday, allowing a goal with just over five minutes remaining after being forced to play the end of the game with only 10 men.
The following two games weren’t any easier to swallow, an 8-0 loss to Northwest Whitfield and a 2-1 loss to Darlington on a road trip to Chattanooga, finishing the week at 0-3.
The game against North Hall March 13 started well enough for the Tigers as senior Nathan Blythe scored less than seven minutes into the contest to give Dawson County (3-6, 1-2 Region 7-AAA) a 1-0 lead at halftime.
The Trojans (2-8, 1-2 Region 7-AAA) got on the board early in the second half with a header off a corner kick to tie the game.
It took exactly 18 seconds for Dawson County to break the tie after Cade Edwards made a run through the North Hall defense to put the Tigers back up by one.
It was a physical game and after North Hall tied it again with 28 minutes remaining, a Dawson County midfielder got his second yellow card of the match, forcing the Tigers to play the last 20 minutes a player short.
“You’re really just trying to hold on,” said Coach Derek Waters about the strategy of playing a man down in a tie game. “You’re trying to go to a more defensive formation, while still giving yourself some kind of chance at a counter (attack) if the opportunity comes up.
“The problem with going to such a defensive formation is it allows them to really pack their side of the field when they got their attack going.”
The Tigers were almost able to preserve the tie and send the game into overtime and potentially penalty kicks, but the North Hall attack was relentless and finally broke through with 5:37 left in the game.
“That one’s tough to take,” Waters said. “We came out, we scored early. We were playing really well into the second half even after they scored the goal, we were able to answer so quickly.
“We just weren’t able to overcome that adversity whenever it hit.”
On March 15, the Tigers lost to Northwest Whitfield, 8-0, after being unable to match the Bruins (9-2) technical style of play.
Northwest Whitfield’s passing was precise, allowing them to maintain possession for the majority of the game. The Tigers were limited to just a few offensive opportunities and even fewer shots on goal.
Saturday’s game against Darlington (3-4) to finish the week was a much closer affair, but the Tigers still fell short, 2-1.
After trailing 1-0 at the half, Dawson County was able to tie the game after Blythe headed a goal home off of a free kick by Caleb Bonesteel.
Dawson County was unable to hold on after Darlington scored a late goal to secure the victory but not before the Tigers had one last free kick go off the crossbar as time expired.
“Overall the trip did not turn out as we had hoped as far the games,” Waters said. “But the players were able to visit the Chickamauga battlefield and learn some information about the Battles of Chattanooga and Chickamauga during the Civil War. They were also able to go the Tennessee Aquarium and view the variety of different aquatic habitats displayed there.
“This week we'll focus on developing a stronger component of teamwork and re-focus our attention to upcoming critical region games.”The Tigers will face Lumpkin County at home beginning at 7:30 p.m. March 27.