In a penalty-laden, back and forth offensive battle, the Dawson County Tigers came out on top Friday when they defeated the East Hall Vikings at home to move to 4-0 in region play.
Dawson won 56-48 in a game that marked Coey Watson’s 40th start as a quarterback and one in which Vaughn Clark moved past the 1,000 yard rushing mark on the season with 230 on the night.
Watson had five rushing touchdowns on the night and one passing.
After a Vikings three and out on its opening possession, Dawson and East Hall would exchange interceptions to set the tone for the back and forth battle.
The third East Hall drive saw Austin Parker complete to Sedrion Morse on multiple downs before a deep post route that was broken up by the Tigers’ Noah Brock. On fourth and nine, a personal foul by East Hall would force a punt to the Tiger 2.
A flag on the Vikings for interference would help jumpstart the Tiger drive and Watson would begin his night with a run to the 30. Watson would finished with 155 yards on the ground.
Clark ran for 17 yards on the next play and East Hall called a timeout.
The drive was capped with a Watson keeper to put Dawson on the board first. Peyton Allen’s extra point made it 7-0 with 2:05 in the opening period.
East Hall answered on its drive with Parker finding Tripp Rider and Morse through the air and Cambren Harrison getting yards on the ground.
Parker found Morse to even things up at 7 with 11:52 in the second.
The next Tiger possession began from the 20 with a handoff to Ethan Cameron. Two plays later, Clark ran straight up the middle for 61 yards to the Viking 8.
Watson ran it in from the 1-yard line for his second rushing touchdown of the night.
Another Allen PAT made it 14-7 with 10:34 in the second.
The next Viking possession was riddled with penalties that helped extend the drive for East Hall.
After a Logan Brumbelow sack for a loss, the Vikings were able to keep the drive going courtesy of penalties.
Parker connected with Austin Brock to even things again at 14.
Noah Brock returned the ensuing kick to the 43-yard line and a face mask on East Hall would help the Tiger cause. A late hit penalty on the Vikings would give Dawson an even shorter field and Clark ran in his first of the night from 19 yards out.
With 3:02 in the half, it was 21-14 Dawson County.
The Tigers gave the Vikings a hand with another personal foul before Zac Baloga got a sack on Parker and Logan Barnes got a stop.
On second and goal, Harrison scored for the Vikings to make it 21 all at half.
East Hall’s defense stopped the Tigers on the opening drive of the second half, but the Tiger D returned the favor when Brumbelow got a fumble recovery and swung the momentum back to Dawson County.
Watson kept the ball on the ground for the next drive and finished it off with a touchdown run from 23 yards out to make it 28-21 with 7:41 in the third.
The next Viking drive began with another blindside block by East Hall and a Baloga stop for the Tigers defense but on second and 10 Parker hit Mon Prather at the 44.
A Dawson interference on third and 16 would help the Viking drive and Baloga and TJ Wilson would sack Parker for a loss.
Despite long yardage on a third down, the Vikings continued the drive and ultimately scored on a completion to Harrison to tie it yet again.
Another Brock return would start the Tigers at their own 30 and Clark would run repeatedly for Dawson. Watson again scored from inside the 2-yard line and turn the lead back to the Tigers at 35-28.
The next East Hall possession saw completions to Morse and Harrison before Harrison went down in the end zone after Brumbelow broke up a pass.
The game was stopped while Harrison left in an air cast and did not return.
The Vikings scored on the first play out of the injury timeout to make it 35 all.
An onside kick by East Hall was recovered by Dawson County and the offense started from the 50. Ethan Cameron, Clark, Watson and Rarick worked on the ground and another Watson touchdown made it 42-35 with 8:39 to play.
East Hall hurt themselves on the next drive with an intentional grounding and face mask.
Dawson got the ball back at the 25 and Watson found Cameron for a 52-yard touchdown to take it to 49-35.
Three personal fouls against the Tigers helped the Vikings on their next drive that ended with a touchdown to make it 49-42.
Dawson would recover another onside kick and a Clark run to the Viking 26 set up another Tiger touchdown on a Clark run from 8 yards out. The Tigers led 56-42 with 1:21 to play.
The Vikings scored on their next possession and went for 2 but could not convert making it 56-48.
The next onside kick was recovered by East Hall.
Starting at the Tiger 35, the Vikings attacked repeatedly with Watson in on defense for the Tigers. At fourth and 10 with a few seconds left on the clock, Watson would pick off Parker’s last passing attempt to end the game.
Dawson moves to 6-2 overall and now 4-0 in region play. They will travel to Lumpkin County on Oct. 27.