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FOOTBALL: Homecoming Night, Palmour’s birthday celebrated with victory in region opener
Alex Stewart, wearing Mason Palmour's No. 19 jersey, leads the Tigers through the banner prior to the game against West Hall. - photo by Rio White

Note: The DCN will run a separate article recognizing the Homecoming King and Queen as well as the court.

It could hardly have been a better way for the Dawson County football team to begin its Region 7-3A schedule — a 56-7 win over West Hall on a night that celebrated both the Homecoming court and the birthday of football player and current cancer patient Mason Palmour.

Alex Stewart — wearing the No. 19 jersey of Palmour — led the Tigers out through the banner to kick off a game that would prove to have the crisp fall weather and raucous atmosphere for a memorable night.

“We took care of business and made things happen early,” head coach Sid Maxwell said. “We played solid in all three phases of the game…we’re moving in the right direction.”

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While the offense has been focused on the running game this season, the backs were able to fully display their abilities against West Hall even more so than the rainy win against North Hall earlier in the season. 

The visiting Spartans had possession to begin the game but gave up an interception on the second play from scrimmage, with the Cruz Matheson grab setting up Dawson deep in opposing territory. 

Kade Moledor would soon punch in the first of many Tigers touchdowns in what would become a game defined by the constant barrage of running backs splitting the West Hall defense.

With the Dawson defense forcing several three-and-outs early in the game, the offense took advantage of multiple scoring opportunities helped by good field position. Cade Adams, Anthony Garcia-Belman and others put constant pressure on the opposing quarterback.

By the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were up 28-0 through a pair of Sawyer Bearden touchdowns and another by Elijah Smith.

Quarterback Davis Glass also had a productive game against the Spartans, having returned from an injury that left him out for one game. He would throw two touchdown passes against West Hall — one early to Bearden and another later on to Dom LeBlanc.

“It was good to see Glass coming back. I thought he had a good showing,” Maxwell said. “He’s been in the fire and got banged up against North Hall, but he’s getting confident and is progressively getting better.”

Glass, much like the running backs, had more chances to show his abilities against the Spartans compared to the challenging non-region teams. 

He would help lead the Tigers to another quick start in the second quarter, completing short and medium-range passes to complement his previously successful deep passes. 

Matt Bennett would score with a rushing touchdown before Moledor would once again find the end zone — with the big man showing some speed on a 37-yard hustle down the sideline. 

Up 42-0 at halftime, the offense would continue to find success in the second half while the defense continued to apply pressure well into the fourth quarter.

Glass would connect with LeBlanc on a 10-yard touchdown pass before sophomore Bentlee Caine wrapped up the scoring for Dawson in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard run. 

West Hall would manage to end the threat of a shutout with a late touchdown run with just over a minute remaining in the game.

With a strong statement win to open up region play and improve to a 3-2 record, the Tigers will now be preparing for the second half of the season.

Region 7 has proven to be unpredictable so far, with former basement dweller Lumpkin County out to a blazing 5-0 record under new head coach Heath Webb. 

Gilmer County has been a force as well, posting a 4-1 record far thus far and recently defeating region newcomers Wesleyan. 

Next up, Dawson County will travel up to Cleveland to face White County on Friday, Sept. 30.