The Dawson County Tigers had little trouble last week as they soundly defeated the Fannin County Rebels on homecoming for their third region win that also clinched a spot in the playoffs.
The Tigers defeated the Rebels 43-3 with 190 yards of rushing from junior Vaughn Clark who carried the ball 17 times for Dawson County.
“The boys played well. We just did what we needed to do,” said Head Coach Sid Maxwell.
“Seeding is where we are now which is great when you can get in game eight and know you are playing in game 11,” Maxwell said. “You have to keep working and not get complacent but at the same time the winner of this game [against East Hall] is probably going to be first or second seed.”
Clark is now 44 yards shy of the 1,000 yard mark on the season.
“He is starting to run straight,” Maxwell said. “He has not been in the program long. He came late last year and he was on defense then.”
The Tigers deferred after winning the toss and easily handled the first Fannin drive when Walker Cox picked off Chandler Smith giving Dawson its first possession at the Rebel 19.
Coey Watson had a completion to Connor Bearden and Clark took it to first and goal before a Watson keeper put the Tigers on the board with 8:11 in the first quarter.
A 2-point conversion on a direct snap to Ryan Glass made it 8-0 Tigers.
Watson was 9-for-11 with 158 yards passing.
“Coey only threw the ball 11 times but we were very efficient with the ball in the passing game and it produced when we needed it to,” said Offensive Coordinator Andy LeBlanc.
“He did what he had to do,” Maxwell said. “We had 14-15 play drives which is always good.”
The next Rebels outing equalled a quick three and out courtesy of a T.J. Wilson and Zac Baloga tackle for loss to force the punt.
From the Rebel 47, Clark picked up 4 yards before Watson found Glass for a 43-yard touchdown. Peyton Allen’s extra point made it 15-0 with 6:22 still in the first period.
Allen kicked it to the end zone and Fannin’s offense would start from the 20. Once again, however, the Rebels would be forced to punt, this time to the Tiger 13.
The Dawson drive would see Watson with completions to Wes Hollaway and Glass. Clark and Shawn Thomas got carries and the Tigers drove to the 1-yard line before another Watson keeper would add to the lead.
With 1:44 still in the first quarter, Dawson led 22-0.
The Dawson defense again made quick work of the Rebels, but the Fannin defense finally got the stop and the Tigers would have to punt.
Nathan Umberger picked up multiple stops including a tackle for loss on the next Rebel drive and Fannin would turn the ball over on downs.
Dawson began their next possession from their own 19 and Clark, Thomas and Cameron took the running duties while Watson again found Glass and Hunter Barron through the air. Clark picked up a rushing touchdown on third and three to make it 29-0.
Just before half Logan Barnes intercepted Smith and Dawson took the 29-0 lead to half.
Fannin attempted and recovered an onside kick to start the second half but could not generate any more on the offensive side of the ball.
Baloga picked up a tackle for loss on second and 10 to back up the Rebels.
Dawson’s next drive began at their 17 and Watson found Chandler Caine for a 77-yard completion to add to the Tigers lead. Allen’s kick made it 36-0.
“Chandler is one of several players I have great confidence in and can throw out on the field anytime during the game,” said LeBlanc about the senior who is in his first year of football.
The Rebels’ next possession again proved fruitless and on first and 10 from the 19, Clark broke through and scored from 81 yards out for his second rushing touchdown.
The next series for the Rebels proved to be their only score on the night when they kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 43-3 with 58 seconds in the third quarter.
The win takes Dawson County to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in region play.
The Tigers host East Hall (5-2, 2-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.
“East Hall is a very good team. They are a gritty and athletic defense. Their style of play is different from what we have seen so far this year so that will be a challenge for us,” LeBlanc said.
“This will be a real tough game for us. They have got a lot of explosions and we want to shut them out. They have got a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism. We are going to have to score points,” Maxwell said.