With every eye on him, Dawson County freshman Chase Cofield knew what he had to do.
Only the first round match of the Region 7-3A stood between Dawson County and North Hall, and Cofield knew everything came down to him.
“All I was thinking about was to keep hitting the ball with consistency,” Cofield said after the match.
Cofield’s consistency would pay off as he won his tiebreaker third set 6-3, giving Dawson County the first round victory on Tuesday, March 30. The win qualified the Tigers for the GHSA 3-A state tournament.
“It was impressive to see Chase go out there as a freshman,” Tigers head coach Logan Allen said. “All the pressure is on him with everybody watching and he knows it. This is going to be huge for him in the future to keep getting better for the future.”
The boys joined the Tigers girls team, who also beat North Hall earlier on Tuesday morning to advance to the state tournament. The Lady Tigers won 4-1, with both second singles and second doubles going into a third set.
The Lady Tigers were up 2-1 when second singles Blake Smith won her tiebreaker set after losing the first to send Dawson County to the state tournament.
Both Brendan Swafford and Lane Perry’s matches ended quickly, with Perry winning and Swafford losing. Perry was quarantined during the regular season match against North Hall when the Tigers lost. Allen said having him back allowed his team to play fluidly.
First doubles duo Ben Swafford and Connor Scroggins won in straight sets to give Dawson the 2-1 lead, but second doubles duo Zach Friday and Grant Ledbetter could not complete their comeback and lost the third set.
“Once it ended up in the third set, I knew it was all on me,” Cofield said. “I was very nervous but once I won, it was very exciting.”
Both teams lost their second round match later Tuesday afternoon, but will play for a third-place Region 7-3A finish Wednesday, March 31 barring any weather cancellations. Once all region tournaments are done, the TIgers will have until April 20 to complete their first round match of the state tournament and submit the results to GHSA.
“It’s big because this was everybody’s goal at the beginning of the season,” Allen said. “Just make the tournament. Hopefully we can do even better than that. That’s what we’ve worked for.”
The Lady Tigers play at 9 a.m. and the Tigers play directly after at 11 a.m. for third place.