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REGION BREAKDOWN: How Dawson County football stacks up against their region
Bailey Dameron jukes out the Flowery Branch defender during the 31-7 loss on Friday, Aug. 27. Photo by akhughes Photography.

As the Dawson County Tigers football team head into their first bye week 1-3 on the season, history seems to be repeating itself, with every game resulting in the same outcome as last year. 

Overall, it looks as though Dawson County will need to continue to play great run defense and force the other teams in the region to test the quarterback’s throwing ability. 

Here is a closer look at each Region 7-3A match the Tigers have: 

White County Warriors

Date of game: Friday, Sept. 24 at White County High School

All-Time record against: 6-3 White County 

Date of first game played: Sept. 19, 1980 (34-6 White Co.) 

Date of first DCHS win: Sept. 15, 2000 (35-23)

Current record: 1-3: 20-7 win over Pickens 

2020 score: 41-35 Dawson County 

2020 record: 8-3, 4-2 in Region 7-3A. First round loss in GHSA 3A State Tournament.

Players to watch: Senior RB Silas Mulligan, Junior WR Darius Cannon

Breakdown: Last year’s match against the Warriors was an exciting one. The Tigers knocked White County out of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Top 10 3A teams in the state with their win last season and the Warriors went on to finish fourth place in the region, with a first round exit from the GHSA state tournament. White County is without their star quarterback from years past, J Ben Hayes, who is currently playing baseball at the University of North Georgia. Running back Silas Mulligan poses the biggest offensive threat against the Tigers, but the defensive front seven have been the strongest part of the 2021 Tigers. 

Gilmer Bobcats 

Date of game: Friday, Oct. 8 at Gilmer High School 

All-Time record against: 7-2 Gilmer

Date of first game played: Oct. 7, 1988 (29-9 Gilmer) 

Date of first DCHS win: Sept. 4, 2015 (23-9)

Current record: 2-1: 41-34 win over East Jackson and 34-21 win over Murray County 

2020 score: 35-0 Dawson County 

2020 record: 3-7, 1-5 in Region 7-3A

Players to watch: Senior RB Kobe Stonecipher

Breakdown: Last season, the Tigers had no problem with stopping the Bobcats triple option look, winning a 35-0 shutout. If anyone made any noise in the game on offense for the Bobcats in last year’s matchup, it was running back Kobe Stonecipher. In Gilmer’s win against East Jackson, Stonecipher rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns, including a kickoff, according to the Times-Courrier in Elijay. However, if Dawson County’s defensive line can stay healthy until this game, the Tigers should be able to handle the run. 

West Hall Spartans 

Date of game: Friday, Oct. 15 at DCHS 

All-Time record against: Series tied 6-6

Date of first game played: Sept. 15, 1989 (13-6 DCHS)

Current record: 2-1: 14-7 win over East Jackson, 48-21 win over East Hall 

2020 score: 38-21 Dawson County 

2020 record: 4-6, 2-4 in Region 7-3A 

Players to watch: Senior RB Jaden White, Senior RB Tilil Blackwell

Breakdown: The Spartans have had an interesting season where they got revenge against East Hall who they lost to last season, but lost 42-7 to Chestatee, who they beat in convincing fashion last year. The Spartans, so far in 2021, have been run heavy, amassing 447 rushing yards in their win against East Hall, according to the Gainesville Times. As long as the Tigers can put a few touchdowns together, their defensive front should once again play a key part in stopping the West Hall running game. 

Cherokee Bluff Bears 

Date of game: Friday, Oct. 22 at Cherokee Bluff High School

All-Time record against: 2-1 Dawson County 

Date of first game played: Oct. 26, 2018

Current Record: 3-0: 57-7 over Johnson, 60-21 over Chestatee, 59-0 over East Forsyth

2020 score: 28-27 Cherokee Bluff

2020 record: 11-2, 5-1 in Region 7-3A. Sweet 16 appearance. 

Players to watch: Senior RB Jayquan Smith, Senior LB/FB Brayden Nance

Breakdown: After winning Region 7-3A last year, the Bears are loaded back up and looking for back-to-back region titles. Other than their two losses, Dawson County played the Bears closest all last season, losing a 28-27 nail-biter. The Bears’ running back, Jayquan Smith, torched the Tigers for 303 rushing yards and four touchdowns in last years game. Smith is back for his senior season, but the vast majority of Dawson County’s front seven is back too. Expect another nail-biter. 

Lumpkin County Indians 

Date of game: Friday, Oct. 29 at DCHS

All-Time record against: 22-19-2 Dawson County 

Date of first game played: Oct. 25, 1968 (21-20 Lumpkin Co.) 

Date of first DCHS win: Aug. 26, 1983 (14-0) 

Current Record: 0-3

2020 score: 63-3 DCHS

2020 record: 0-10, 0-6 in Region 7-3A

Breakdown: For the 44th installment of Dawson County vs Lumpkin County, there is not much left to say. The Tigers scored 63 unanswered points against the Indians last season. In their non-region games, it does not seem to appear that Lumpkin County has found any firepower to push them over the hump. 

North Hall Trojans 

Date of game: Friday, Nov. 5 at DCHS 

All-Time record against: 4-3 North Hall 

Date of first game played: Sept. 7, 2012 (47-14 North Hall) 

Date of first DCHS win:  Sept. 30, 2016 (45-27)

Current Record: 1-2: 23-14 win over Paulding County 

2020 score: 34-21 North Hall 

2020 record: 7-5, 5-1 in Region 7-3A. Sweet 16 appearance. 

Players to watch: Senior RB Kevin Rochester, Junior WR/DB Jeremiah Telander 

Breakdown: Last season, the Tigers could not stop the Trojans running attack, losing their season finale. This season sets up perfectly for the Tigers to get their revenge. The Trojans lost their running back Clark Howell and their running game continues to be deep, but up to this point, have only scored six touchdowns. If the Tigers can continue their current rate of 22 points per game, they should be in a great position to win.