Dawson County High School Varsity Football Coach Jeff Lee was speechless after his Dawson County Tiger football team dropped a 13-7 loss to Union County in Blairsville on Friday.
Union turned the ball over four times and the Tigers managed only seven points.
The Tigers had two chances late in the fourth quarter to take the lead. Both scoring chances turned up empty as Dawson dropped it’s second straight Region 8-AA game and almost eliminated itself from any chance of advancing into the state football tournament.
Dawson is currently 1-6 on the season and 1-2 in region play.
The Panthers advanced to 2-5 and 1-2.
The Tigers’ offense in the fourth quarter was a perfect example of how the season has gone for the team.
The first long Tiger drive, which started on the Panther 21-yard line, ended in futility. Dawson running backs Eian Perry, Zack Martin and Cody Smith ran the ball down the middle of Union’s defense.
Behind the blocking of offensive lineman, Zach Johnson, Matt Jerezewski, Michael Garrett, Eli Brown, Cody Christopher and Dylan Stradley, the Tigers moved the ball down to the Union 11-yard line on 12 successive runs.
On first and 10 the Tiger coaching staff tried to catch the Panthers off guard.
Dawson quarterback Tyler Dominy attempted to throw a lob pass to the corner of the end zone. Unfortunately, a Union defensive back intercepted the ball and returned it down to Dawson’s 31-yard line.
A chance wasted with the score 13-7.
The Panthers next play resulted in a fumble, which was recovered by Tiger linebacker Cody Smith. The Tigers had another chance to score with 6:48 to play.
Quarterback Tyler Dominy orchestrated a perfect drive that took the ball down inside the 1-yard line.
On fourth down, Lee entered former quarterback Ethan Brown into the game to try a quarterback sneak.
The Panther defense was up to task and stopped Brown just short of the end zone with 1:10 to play.
Union got on the board first on a Jesse Wright run with 6:08 gone in the first quarter. The extra point was no good and Union took a quick 6-0 lead.
The Tigers defense strengthened after the opening drive. On Union’s next offensive possession, linebacker Lee Smith recovered a fumble on the Panther 49-yard line.
Dawson’s offense went on a 31-yard drive of its own that took the ball down to the Panther 18-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Dawson’s defense rose up again. Outside linebacker Caleb Samples recovered another Panther fumble that gave the ball back to the Tiger offense.
A Tiger running back fumbled the next snap and Union recovered.
However, once again the Tiger defense forced another turnover. Senior free safety Ethan Brown picked off a Panther pass at the 20-yard line.
This time Dawson took advantage of a Union turnover.
Dominy found Perry down the left sideline for a 28-yard touchdown pass with just 12.8 seconds remaining before halftime.
The extra point by Brown was good and Dawson took a 7-6 lead into the dressing room at half.
The only scoring in the second half was off of a 2-yard touchdown run by the Panthers.
With 6:40 left in the third quarter, Union led 13-7.
It was all the Panthers needed to come away with their first Region 8-AA win.
This week Dawson will travel to play East Hall in Gainesville.
The Vikings come into the game with a 3-4 overall record, but are 2-1 in region play.
Last week East Hall lost to Fannin County 20-7. The team has wins over Johnson, 28-21, Rabun County, 26-22 and Union County, 35-28.
Their losses have come to West Hall, 18-6, Elbert County, 48-13, and Adairsville, 49-28.
The last time Dawson played East Hall was on Oct. 7, 2005. The Tigers came out on top 15-14. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m.