Friday could be the biggest night of the season for the Dawson County Tigers as the play host to Region 7-AAA rival West Hall.
The Tigers were off last week, while West Hall traveled to Bogart to face a talented North Oconee team.
"This past week was spent on fundamentals and correcting mistakes that we have seen over the first three games," said Coach Jeff Lee. "We gave the players two days off last week so that they might get away from the grind."
Friday night's match-up could decide the winner of the region.
"This game will not define either team this season. Both still have a lot more season left to play. It is a game in which the winner will be in the driver's seat for first place in the region standings. In other words this could be for the region championship. The loser will still be in control of their own destiny for second place in the region," Lee said.
But first Dawson County must overcome several obstacles.
First, the Tigers are nursing several injuries to key players, though Lee is confident they will be ready to play on Friday.
"We are slowly starting to get all of our injured players back," he said. "If we can avoid the injury bug over the next two weeks, we should have all of our two deep depth chart from preseason back on the field, which hasn't happened all season thus far."
Second, Dawson County has managed to score only 13 points this season on offense while surrendering 60 points on defense.
Also, Lee's team has yet to win a game with losses to Heritage-Catoosa, 10-6, Forsyth Central, 27-7 and Gilmer County, 23-0.
West Hall, on the other hand, is fresh off their first loss of the season last Friday night at North Oconee. The Spartans lost the contest 28-10 to a very talented North team.
Coach Tony Lotti's team had pitched a shutout in their first three games, all wins. The Spartans have defeated Johnson, 28-0, Chestatee, 31-0, and North Hall, 38-0.
One thing in Dawson's favor is strength of schedule. The Tigers opponents are a combined 7-3. West Hall, on the other hand, has played teams that have a combined record of 1-10.
"We knew our preseason and non-region games would be a test for us. We feel that has prepared us for a game such as this," Lee said.
Last season, West Hall defeated Dawson County in the last game of the season, 10-7, eliminating the Tigers from postseason play. The Spartans secured the last state playoff spot for the first time since 2002.
On defense, Dawson County must find a way to stop Spartan running backs Tyquan Statham and Kwon Williams. Both athletes are being heavily recruited by Division-I college programs.
At quarterback for West Hall will be 6-3 sophomore Jacob Satterfield.
Lee and his offensive staff have to find a way to score against West Hall to have any success. West Hall has a very strong defense against the run with linebackers Statham, Marvin Mejia, Tyrese Osborne, and Cameron Millsap leading the way.
"West Hall is a very talented team. On defense we must prevent the big play and make them snap it as many times as possible when they have the ball. On offense, we must score when we are given the opportunities," Lee said.
Kickoff for Friday's key contest will be at 7:30 p.m. It will also be Dawson County Parks and Recreation Night at Tiger Stadium.
The game will be a "black out."