The Dawson County Tigers Football Team ended their non-region schedule on Friday night with a big win against the Northview Titans, with a final score of 42-20.
The second half of the game was all about the Tigers, who outscored the Titans 21-6 with a punt return touchdown, an interception touchdown and a blocked extra-point attempt.
Running back Isaiah Grindle led the offense with 11 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Dakota Sonnichsen had 137 yards on the game, catching a touchdown and scoring on a punt return as well.
“We’ve been getting better every week,” Head Coach Sid Maxwell said. “Our offense looks great but we have a lot to work on.”
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After Northview scored the first touchdown of the game, Grindle rushed down the field for a 72-yard touchdown. Grindle had four carries for 115 yards at the half and had another 68-yard touchdown that the referee threw a flag for illegal procedure, or wrong placement on the offense.
A three-and-out gave the ball back to the Tigers’ offense. One incomplete pass is all quarterback Zach Holtzclaw needed to find his groove, connecting with Dakota Sonnichsen for a 60-yard touchdown pass, giving the Tigers the lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Another three-and-out gifted the Tigers an opportunity to take control of the game, but a fumble on the first play of the drive gave the ball pack to the Titans. It would take the Titans into the second quarter to find the end zone, tying the game 14-14.
After no score on the next two offensive possessions, Holtzclaw ran the ball three times, one for 20 yards. On his third attempt, he dived into the end zone for a rushing touchdown.
The score would stay 21-14 in favor of the Tigers to end the first half. Holtzclaw completed five of his 11 pass attempts for 99 yards and ran for 33 yards in the half.
The Tigers put the pedal to the metal to start the second half. After a Titans’ three-and-out to start the half, Sonnichsen ran the punt back into the end zone to extend the Tigers’ lead 28-14.
After a few possessions without scoring, the Tigers fed Grindle the ball with 7 rushing attempts, driving the ball down the field for the score.
On the next play, defensive back Tripp Caine intercepted the pass and ran it all the way to the end zone for a quick score. The Tigers 42-14 lead would go into the fourth quarter.
The Titans would find the end zone once in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers kept the momentum all to themselves, blocking the extra point attempt after the score. The Tigers spent the entire fourth quarter running the clock out to solidify the win.
Holtzclaw only managed one passing attempt in the entire second half, but later said that was all part of the plan.
“I love when we’re playing well enough to where I don’t have to throw the ball forty times,” Holtzclaw said on the sidelines after the game. “I feel like it takes all the pressure off of me.”
Coach Maxwell reminded his players in the post-game team meeting that the real season starts in their next game. In Georgia high school football, only a team’s region standings matter for qualifying for the state tournament. Non-region games are essentially just for practice.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks to fix some mistakes that we’ve been making,” Maxwell said. “If we keep improving like we have been all season, we’ll be close to if not ready.”
The Tigers have no game next week as they get ready for their first region match at home on Friday, Oct. 9 against White County High School out of Cleveland, Ga. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.