It was a rainy, cold and dreary night in Tiger on Friday. Despite a literally "sloppy" start, the Dawson County Tigers picked up the team's third win in a row with a 38-7 decision over Rabun County (3-6; 1-4).
The Tigers are 5-4 overall. It is Dawson's first five-win season since 2005, when the Tigers finished 7-3.
Head Coach Jeff Lee's football team just couldn't find any offensive rhythm in the first half and led only 14-0 at halftime.
The Tigers turned it up a notch in the second half. The team scored 24-points to come away with the win and lock up the #2-seed from Region 8A-AA.
Dawson will host Jefferson (7-2; 4-2) from Region 8B-AA Friday night. The two teams have played already this season with the Dragons coming out on top of a 42-14 lopsided win on Sept. 9.
Zack Martin reached a milestone for the Tigers on Friday night. Martin rushed the ball 20 times on Friday for 189 yards and three touchdowns.
He also surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. Martin has carried the ball 187 times this season for 1,061 total rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Tyler Dominy was 7-for-16 for 81 yards, but one of his completions was a 35-yard touchdown pass to Will Anglin in the first quarter. The extra point was good by Max Muldoon and Dawson held a 7-0 advantage.
"Weather was a big factor in Tyler not throwing the ball well," Lee said.
Anglin is second on the team in receiving with 25 catches for 360 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers added a second touchdown in the first quarter on a 7-yard run by Martin.
Muldoon added the extra point and Dawson held a 14-0 lead.
Conditions worsened in the second half as the temperature dropped and a steady mist engulfed the field.
It didn't stop Martin.
Martin added two more touchdowns on the ground in the second half. A 26-yard field goal by Muldoon and a rushing touchdown by Dominy finished the scoring for Dawson County.
Rabun's only score came on a kickoff return in the third quarter.
The Tigers defense has only surrendered one touchdown in the last two games.
"I thought our defense played well again against Rabun County," Lee said.
Up next for Dawson County will be the very athletic Jefferson Dragons.
The Dragons are coached by legendary head coach T. McFerrin.
Jefferson is coming into the game on a two-game winning streak with victories over county rivals East Jackson, 35-7, last Friday, and Jackson County, 31-14.
The key for the Dawson County defense will be to stop Dragon quarterback Bryant Shirreffs.
The junior comes into the game with more than 1,600 yards throwing with a completion percentage of more than 60 percent. Shirreffs has thrown for 20 touchdowns with only one interception in more than 170 attempts.
Tristen Jackson is the Dragons go to guy at running back.
The 5'9" 190-pound sophomore is very quick.
If Jackson is allowed to get to the corner he can outrun most defensive players.
On offense, the Tigers must maintain control of the football and keep it away from Jefferson.
The Dragons have a pair of physical and athletic linebackers in Carson Newman and Wesley Simonton. Newman (6-0, 200 pound senior) and Simonton have accounted for more than 190 tackles on the season.
"This is a big game this Friday against Jefferson at home. Winner keeps playing. Loser is done," Lee said.