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Football Preview: What to watch for in the Tigers’ first round matchup against Adairsville High
The Tigers offense awaits the play call against Gilmer County on Oct. 23. Photo by Paige Sweany of Sole Photography. - photo by File

The Dawson County Tigers football team travels to Adairsville High School in Bartow County, Georgia on Friday, Nov. 27 for the first round of the GHSA 3-A state tournament. 

Dawson County Tigers vs Adairsville Tigers 

When and where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, at Adairsville High School in Adairsville, Ga.

Records and rankings: Dawson County is 5-5 (4-2 in region play) and ranked #24 in Class 3A by Maxpreps; Adairsville is 6-3 (5-2 in region play) and ranked #22 in Class 3A by Maxpreps.  

Series history: Never played against one another

What to know: Just like North Hall, Adairsville run-first football program. Adairsville has two running backs in senior Ja’Maury Johnson and junior Eli Agnew that have over 500 rushing yards individually on the season. Their defense has played well this season too, allowing only 193 points to opponents all season, the most being in a 45-7 loss against Rockmart High School. They have an eye-popping 25 sacks on the season but only three interceptions as a unit, which plays into Dawson County’s strengths. Quarterback Zach Holtzclaw finished the regular season with 2,484 passing yards. The Tigers will need to lean on Holtzclaw’s arm if starting running back Isaiah Grindle has to sit out after an apparent right leg injury during the season’s finale against North Hall. If Adairsville’s defensive backs are the weak spot on the defense, coaches should have no problem letting Holtzclaw move the ball through the air, especially when he’s only thrown five interceptions all season.  

Keys to the game 

Dawson County: Stop the run. Dawson County struggled heavily against the run in their game against North Hall. If they play strong and let their defensive backs work against the Adairsville passing game, Dawson County has a better chance of leaving Adairsville with an upset. 

Adairsville: Stop the pass. Dawson County will move the ball through the air efficiently. If the Adairsville defensive backs aren’t prepared for tall receivers like Tyler Lane and Jaden Gibson to get the ball in their hands, watch out. Dawson County can run up the scoreboard in a hurry.