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FOOTBALL: A Goose Egg! Dawson defense shuts out Gilmer County 35-0
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Dakohta Sonnichsen breaks a tackle against Gilmer County on Oct. 23. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography. - photo by File

The Dawson County Tigers silenced the Gilmer County Bobcats’ offense on Oct. 23 by winning 35-0 in a complete shutout. This game was Dawson County’s biggest margin of victory this season so far. 

“The boys did a great job of being in the right spot where the run hits,” Tigers Head Coach Sid Maxwell said after the game. “We executed well against a good football team.” 


Gilmer County’s offense scored 62 points against Lumpkin County a week prior. In 35 plays against Dawson County, the Bobcats earned only 68 yards on offense and did not complete a single pass. 

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AJ Moore dives for a tackle against Gilmer County on Oct. 23. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography. - photo by File

Quarterback Zach Holtzclaw played well for the Tigers once again, completing 14 of his 19 pass attempts for 236 yards. He scored four touchdowns in the game; two through the air and two runs into the end zone on the 1-yard line. 

The Tigers’ offense only punted once during the game. Nearly every other offensive drive led to a touchdown.

Dawson County scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. The first came on a quarterback sneak into the end zone for Holtzclaw and the second was a rushing touchdown by Isaiah Grindle. Grindle ran the ball nine times for 61 yards and the touchdown. He sat out the entire second half. 

The third touchdown, Holtzclaw’s second rushing touchdown, capitalized a 14-play drive by the Tigers. During the drive, Jaden Gibson injured himself during a blocking assignment. Coach Maxwell said that he tweaked a muscle in his back and missed the rest of the game. His timetable of return is uncertain.

Holtzclaw’s first passing touchdown occurred with just 1:33 left in the half. Dakohta Sonnichsen caught the ball on a screen pass and ran past three Bobcat defenders for 54 yards into the end zone. Sonnichsen caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also threw a 39-yard pass in the first half. 

It would take the Tigers less than a minute to get back into the end zone after halftime on a 72-yard bomb by Holtzclaw to Tyler Lane for the touchdown. Lane caught three passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. 

The final 23 minutes of the game passed with no scores, ending the game 35-0. The clock ran continuously during the fourth quarter and the game was over in less than two hours. 

Dawson County’s 35 points actually lowers their average points scored on the season. The Tigers were averaging 36 points a game prior to the victory against Gilmer County and average 35.8 after. 

The Tigers (3-3) will continue region play on Oct. 30 by traveling to Oakwood, Ga., to battle against the (0-6) West Hall Spartans. 

“In this game, you can’t spend time patting yourself on the back from what you did last week,” Maxwell said. “You’ve got to move forward to next week.”

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The Tigers offense awaits the play call against Gilmer County on Oct. 23. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography. - photo by File