Head coach Sid Maxwell got a first glimpse of what his football team has improved on the most over the summer and which areas need improvement after a 24-17 loss to North Forsyth in a scrimmage game on Monday, Aug. 8.
With the vociferous student section draped in neon colors and the Tiger Pride band roaring from the stands, Monday night’s game — rescheduled from Friday due to inclement weather — served as a first taste of what should be yet another exciting fall of Tigers football.
Sophomore quarterback Davis Glass and his offensive line faced a blitz-heavy North Forsyth defense that gave the Tigers a tough time in the first quarter.
“They were just jumping on our cadence [so] we started changing it a bit. Coach LeBlanc did a good job doing that,” Maxwell said. “Our boys settled down a little bit. I thought the effort was good.”
Glass would gradually become more comfortable as the game went on, throwing a collection of deep passes that tested his receiving core.
Early catches by Dominic LeBlanc and Matt Bennett helped set up scoring opportunities, while Sawyer Bearden would be the recipient of two touchdown passes from Glass.
“I thought [Glass] rose up to the challenge,” Maxwell said. “We wanted to see how much he could throw and put him out there to get him some experience.”
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Defensively, the Tigers had early trouble stopping the Raiders’ screen passes and rushing attack around the edges, with the visitors opening the scoring in the first quarter with a long touchdown.
The next time around, Dawson’s defense looked better but was put in the challenging position of defending their own half of the field after the Raiders took over following a forced fumble.
As the game went on, the defense improved and would not give up any second-half points.
“We gave up some big plays in the secondary and just blew some coverages. That’s on me,” Maxwell said. “We can simplify our scheme and correct that. It’s a process.”
Down 14-0 early, the Tigers got into the red zone for the first time after a LeBlanc reception but were held to a field goal.
The Raiders had an opportunity to go up by three scores on a couple of occasions in the second quarter but were held to a field goal the first time and then would miss a kick the second time.
Dawson’s first touchdown of the game came through a drive where Glass established his rhythm in the game.
Passes to Luke Smith and Braden Crane helped set up the team in the red zone, with the touchdown caught by Bearden.
On the ensuing Raiders possession, Bennett contributed defensively with an interception to give the ball right back to the Tigers.
The hosts were unable to capitalize and the defense would give up a touchdown right before halftime to go into the locker room down 24-10.
While most of the second half saw both sides switch out players, the Tigers scored early in the third quarter through a 50-plus yard touchdown pass from Glass to Bearden. That would stand as the final scoring play of the game.
In preparation for the first regular season game — at home against Jackson County on Friday, Aug. 19 — Maxwell highlighted a couple of areas that the team needs to work on.
“I think we’ve got to line up on defense better,” Maxwell said. “We had a lot of guys flying around misaligning and trying to line up late before they snapped the football. Every football play starts with your eyes and stance.”