For the first time in eight years, the Dawson County High School Tiger football team is in the state playoffs.
Coach Jeff Lee's team easily defeated West Hall on Friday, 42-13, to qualify as the No. 4-seed out of Region 7-AAA.
Dawson County is currently 6-4 on the season and will travel to play the No. 1-seed out of Region 6-AAA, St. Pius, on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The last time Dawson County entered the state playoffs the team was eliminated by Coosa, 21-6.
"We are so excited for our players," Lee said. "All the hard work our kids put in is paying off. We feel like we have a great chance in the playoffs."
The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and cruised for the next two and half quarters in the win against West Hall.
With the loss, West Hall's season ended with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-5 region record.
Dawson County elected to receive to begin the game with the Spartans.
Chris Sayler took the kickoff at the 4-yard line and went 77-yards down to the West Hall 19-yard line.
A heavy diet of fullback Zach Martin culminated with a touchdown from 1-yard out on third-down to score.
Max Muldoon added the extra point and Dawson County had a 7-0 lead with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
Martin finished the contest with 19 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers defense forced West Hall into a punt after three downs.
Seven plays later, quarterback Tyler Dominy found receiver Bruce Clark with a 9-yard fade pass for a touchdown.
Muldoon converted the extra point, Dawson's lead was extended to 14-0 with 5:21 to go in the first quarter.
West Hall marched down the field as part of an 11-play drive. The Spartans attempted a 40-yard field goal that came up short.
Dominy completed five-of-six passes on Dawson's next drive. He hit four different receivers.
After a timeout, Dominy connected with Cody Lamar on a middle screen for a 10-yard touchdown with 9:07 left before halftime.
With the extra point, the Tigers held a 21-0 lead.
The only spark on offense for West Hall came on the next kickoff.
Spartan, Xavier Johnson, made a spectacular run for an 81-yard touchdown return.
Lee's team quickly answered.
Sayler scored from 17-yards out to give the Tigers a 28-7 lead with 5:51 remaining before intermission.
Dawson's defense rose to the occasion all evening.
The Tigers picked off a pass by sophomore Logan Hurst and harassed the West Hall quarterback all evening.
Defensive coordinator Jed Lacey's defensive line harassed the Spartan quarterback for four quarters.
Sacks by Bruce Clark, Brandon Tenorio and Logan Hayes stopped drives by West Hall forcing long yardage situation.
"The defense has really played well the last two games. They will have to keep that up this week against a very good option ball club," Lee said.
The Tigers added two more touchdowns by Martin in the third quarter to seal the win.
Dominy finished the game hitting 17-of-27 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
On the season, Dominy is 157-249 for 2,516 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Dominy also had six carries for 46 yards.
"This really gives opposing defenses something else to worry about with Tyler running the ball," Lee said.
Dawson County ran a balanced offense with seven different receivers and running backs handling the ball.
Clark led the receiving corps with seven catches for 87 yards.
Also catching passes were: Will Anglin, Toal, Sayler, Lamar, Martin and Levi Whitmire.
"I thought we are peaking at just the right time offensively. Our offensive line, especially Harley Vaughan, played well," Lee said. "We wanted to come out and not let West Hall in the game. Our players got on them early on both sides of the ball. We executed well."