The Dawson County Tigers opened region play on Friday night with a convincing win over the North Hall Trojans.
“I am always happy when we win,” said Head Coach Sid Maxwell. “The boys played well I thought. The special teams were on point again. The kids had a lot more focus. I thought we played solid in all three phases.”
The Tigers imposed their will on the Trojans on both sides of the football from early in the game.
The opening drive for Dawson took 2 minutes and 28 seconds off the clock and saw quarterback Coey Watson complete passes to Ethan Cameron and Ryan Glass.
“Ethan is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Offensive Coordinator Andy LeBlanc. “He understands the offense very well and continues to put himself in position to make plays for us.”
Watson and the passing game helped open up the run game for the Tigers with Watson going 20-for-26 for 243 yards through the air and running back Vaughn Clark adding 155 yards on the ground.
The opening drive culminated with a Watson keeper to put the first six points on the board.
Peyton Allen’s extra point made it 7-0.
The Dawson defense forced a three and out for the Trojans and the Tigers drove from their own 16-yard line.
“I thought defensively, the staff had them well prepared,” Maxwell said.
The Dawson County offensive line proved solid allowing Clark to generate yards on the ground.
With 4:23 in the first, the Tigers settled for an Allen 33-yard field goal to go up 10-0.
The Tigers and Trojans then traded three and outs before the next North Hall drive. Jason Velasquez, T.J. Wilson and Nate Umberger were problematic for the Trojan offense and North Hall was forced to punt it to the Tiger 29.
Dawson’s next drive was again powered by Clark’s running before Watson found Glass for another touchdown with 4:32 until the half.
“I thought Coey did a great job managing the game,” Maxwell said.
Glass had four catches for 64 yards.
In addition to Clark’s rushing, he added another 45 yards receiving.
The Tigers would retain the 17-0 lead heading to the break after a Trojan interception short circuited the next Dawson possession.
In the third quarter, the Trojans would start from their 20. Jason Browning, Velasquez, Barnes and Taylor Swofford continued to disrupt the North Hall offense before they were forced to punt to the Tiger 27.
“He’s [Swofford] a big part of what we do. We have got a pretty young defensive football team and he is one of those guys. He is the only senior I have got on the line and he keeps it together,” Maxwell said.
Unable to sustain the drive, Dawson punted and the Trojans’ next outing ended at the 16 where a 33-yard field goal try was no good.
On the following Tiger possession, Clark began with an 18-yard run to the 38. A completion to Glass two plays later gave Dawson a first and 10 at the 49.
A completion to Clark would put Dawson at the North Hall 13 and the hurry up offense had two more runs from Clark before he carried it in for the third Tiger touchdown.
After the extra point, Dawson had a 24-0 lead.
“We have been working hard to gel up front the last few weeks and I think it is starting to show,” LeBlanc said. “The kids are adjusting well to game speed and have been doing a good job of preparing. We still need to improve in all areas and will continue to work to meet our goals."
The next Trojan possession was snuffed out by Swofford and Barnes and Dawson began again from their own 38-yard line.
Clark’s running and a completion to Cameron put the Tigers in striking position yet again. Clark would run it in and a missed extra point made it 30-0 with 5:50 to play.
Cameron had 95 yards receiving on the night.
North Hall would add a touchdown with 24 seconds left in the game to prevent the shutout.
The win takes Dawson County to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in region play. The Tigers will travel next week to Union County.
“They have got a tremendous offense, pretty high scoring,” Maxwell said. “It is going to be a challenge again for Brent and the defensive staff to work to contain that. Should be a good football game. Should be very competitive. The winner of this will take charge of the region.”