A full moon was shining over Viking Stadium last Friday night. The celestial body seemed to bring out the best of the Tiger football team as it dominated in a 24-6 win over East Hall for the team’s second victory of the season.
The Tigers are currently 2-6 on the season and 2-2 in Region 8-AA.
With a win over Rabun County this Friday night the Tigers have a shot at the region playoffs.
Defense was a key to the Tigers win. Defensive coordinator Van Samples had a simple plan, stop the Region 8-AA leading rusher Jamond Witt.
The Tigers did that limiting Witt to only 25 yards on 19 carries.
The Tigers also forced East Hall into four turnovers.
“We just had to keep him contained and not let him get free, because if he gets to the outside, he’s gone,” said the Tigers’ Ethan Brown, who made several tackles at defensive back. He also scored on a 23-yard hook-and-lateral from receiver, and kicked a 28-yard field goal.
East Hall won the toss and elected to receive to begin the game. Things took a bad turn when Witt caught the kick from Tiger Ethan Brown and returned it 76-yards. The Tigers breathed a sigh of relief when a block in the back call negated the touchdown run.
The Vikings went on a 76-yard march on the ensuing drive all the way down to the Tiger 4-yard line. East Hall used most of the first quarter clock when on fourth and four, with only 2:16 remaining in the quarter, Dawson’s defense held strong and stopped the Vikings.
After a Dawson punt, East Hall tried a pass that was picked off by Brown at the 31-yard line. Brown returned the interception out to the 39-yard line.
Dawson put the first points on the board with something Head Coach Jeff Lee rarely does, a trick play.
On first and 10 at the 28-yard line, quarterback Tyler Dominy dropped back to pass. Dominy found Tiger receiver Bruce Clark open and hit him with the football. Clark then flipped the ball to Brown coming down the sideline for the touchdown. The play worked and Dawson held a 6-0 lead.
Brown added the extra point and the Tigers were up 7-0 at the 8:56 mark of the second quarter.
“We put the play in this week,” Lee said. “We felt it would work against their defense.”
The Tigers’ next possession ended in a 27-yard punt that Witt tried to field off the ground. Dawson had Witt surrounded when he was unable to field it cleanly and the Tigers’ Lee Smith recovered on the Vikings’ 27.
On the next play, Dominy sold a pump fake downfield, allowing Clark to get wide open for a 27-yard touchdown reception. Brown added the extra point and Dawson held a 14-0 lead with 3:29 remaining before half.
“We knew their corners were biting hard and would try to make a big play,” said Dominy, who completed four of his seven passes for 54 yards and rushed for a 17-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. “As a quarterback, you’ve got to sell the pump fake to make sure that cornerback bites, and it ended up working. I read the cornerback and I saw him bite. It was a good play for us and shifted the momentum toward our side. It was a huge play in the game.”
The Tigers added one more score just before halftime. Dawson started the drive at the 49-yard line. On a third down call Eian Perry took the handoff from Dominy and bowled over several Viking defenders for a 29-yard run down to the East 17 yard line.
Perry finished the night with 61 yards rushing on just 12 carries.
Dawson lined up for a 27-yard field goal try with just two seconds remaining before halftime.
From the hold of Levi Wilson, Brown split the uprights to give the Tigers a commanding 17-0 halftime lead.
Dawson made the score 24-0 early in the fourth quarter.
An errant snap sailed over the East Hall punter Ricardo Rosales’ head and was recovered by Brown at the Viking 17 yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage to start the fourth quarter, Dominy scrambled to his right. He sprinted to the end zone and leaped to score the touchdown.
Brown, once again, added the extra point.
East Hall threatened mid-way through the fourth quarter but a touchdown saving interception by Cody McGinnis stopped the drive with 8:47 to play. The Vikings finally got on the board with just 37 seconds left in the game.
Quarterback Zach Groover scored on a 1-yard run. The 2-point conversion was no good and Dawson came away with the 24-6 victory.
The Tigers will host Rabun County this week on senior night.
The Vikings will travel to Banks County. Both games will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Both teams will need a win for a shot at a top three finish and a possible playoff position.
DCN regional staff Adam Krohn contributed to this story.