For the first time since the opening game of the season, the Dawson County football team found themselves in a tight matchup well into the second half — this time against Wesleyan in a region game on the road Friday night.
Despite facing a strong Wolves team that erased an early 14-0 Dawson lead and led 24-17 late, the Tigers would rally back in the fourth quarter to win 31-24 to continue to stay undefeated in region play at a 4-0 record and improve to 6-2 overall.
“It was a hard-fought football game. I’m real proud of our effort and fight — we never gave up,” head coach Sid Maxwell said. “These boys are a tight-knit group and were able to bounce back and get two scores. That’s how you win regions.”
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With the score tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers offense needed a spark after having little progress since leading 14-0 in the first half.
The defense, which had another successful night against the run, had challenges against a Wesleyan passing attack centered around tight end Jamie Tremble.
But Dawson’s much-needed spark would happen through the efforts of the passing offense, with sophomore quarterback Davis Glass rising to the moment.
“He’s learning how to play but he controlled the offense,” Maxwell said. “For us to be successful he’s got to hit the big plays.”
After another Wesleyan touchdown to Tremble, the score stood at 24-17 and momentum had firmly shifted to the Wolves.
With their backs against the wall, the Tigers came out on the next possession with an immediate response.
Glass rolled out and found his trusty receiver Dominic LeBlanc for the second time in the game — this time on a 72-yard connection to tie the score at 24 with nine minutes remaining.
After regaining possession in good field position following a poor punt, the Tigers looked determined to finish the game off.
A 35-yard pass from Glass to Sawyer Bearden set up Dawson around the 6-yard line, with Glass eventually pushing the pile forward on the goal line to score.
Wesleyan would make progress on their next drive and would head well into Tigers territory.
But with around 50 seconds left in the game, Kevin Haymond came up with a fourth-down sack to help seal Dawson's sixth win of the season and maintain an undefeated record in region play.
Before the scoring frenzy from both teams in the second half, Dawson had scored on a screen pass from Glass to LeBlanc followed up by Kade Moledor touchdown run that was set up by a deep pass to Hunter Casserleigh.
With just over a minute left, Wesleyan caught the Dawson defense off guard and used a 50-yard pass to help fuel a scoring drive to cut the deficit in half going into halftime.
The Tigers fumbled the ball to begin the second half to set up a Wesleyan field goal, with the Wolves later taking a 17-14 lead on another long pass.
Dawson hit a chip shot field goal to tie the game before both teams would trade scores in the fourth quarter.
Next week, the Tigers will host their regular season home finale against Gilmer. The Bobcats most recently faced an upset loss to Pickens, leaving them at a 2-2 region record.