Trailing by 21 as half time neared, the Dawson County Tigers mounted a comeback but fell short against Westminster to start off the preseason during a scrimmage Friday night.
"We just had no intensity to begin the ballgame," Head Coach Jeff Lee said. "We will have to improve on beginning the game fast this week."
The Tigers came out flat against Westminster High School, the preseason No. 7 team in Class AAA, and it showed, with the Wildcats jumping out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Westminster scored again in the first quarter from 1-yard out on a run to push their lead to 14-0 with still 1:14 remaining.
The Wildcats would score again in the second quarter to push their advantage to 21-0 in Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers' offense finally got something going after the defense recovered a fumble at the Wildcat 45-yard line.
On a third and seven from the 47-yard line quarterback Zach Buchan found a wide open receiver for a 46-yard gain to the 1-yard line. On first and go, running back Richard Palmer crossed the goal line to get Dawson County on the board at the three-minute mark.
The extra point was good by Buchan and Dawson County trailed 21-7.
Dawson County mounted a good drive to begin the second half. Two penalties and a couple of incompletions stalled the drive out giving the ball back to Westminster.
"We can't have major penalties like that on offense," said Lee. "Our offense just shot itself in the foot and put our defense back on the field."
Dawson County would score another touchdown in the third quarter on a 42-yard pass play from Buchan to Dalton Edwards. The extra point was good by Buchan making the score 21-14 with 2:10 remaining in the quarter.
"It took a while for us to settle down," Lee said. "We played a lot of sophomores and we were trying to find different people that could play. I was pleased with the way we responded, if we could just take out the first seven minutes of the game."
The Tigers got the ball back with 25 ticks remaining in the third quarter on a fumble recovery by linebacker Connor Woodbury on the 34-yard line.
The Tigers were unable to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs.
In three quarters, of play Dawson County lost 21-14. Both teams played their J.V. teams in the fourth quarter.
"I was proud of the fact that our players fought back. If we could have played the fourth quarter with our varsity, I thought we would have won the game," Lee said.
Up next for the Tigers will be a home match-up with a tough North Hall squad led by first-year coach David Bishop, who replaced veteran coach Bob Christmas.
North Hall posted an 8-3 record last season. The Trojans were ousted from the State AAA playoffs by Ringgold, 55-54.
The Trojans have moved a classification to Region 8-AAAA, which includes teams like Buford, White County, North Oconee and Stephens County.
Dawson County lost to North Hall, 51-6, during the regular season last year.
"North Hall will be fundamentally sound, like always. They will try to run the ball down our throats. We have to do a better job of executing both on offense and defense this week," Lee said.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 in Tigers Stadium.