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Tigers are region champs
Team wins first title in school history
Varsity Football pic15
Tucker Maxwell runs for a touchdown against the Indians. - photo by Ryan Coker Dawson County News

Region champions! For the first time in the school's history the Dawson County High School varsity Tigers have been crowned Region 7-AAA champions.

First-year head coach Sid Maxwell's squad sealed the title with a 41-0 rout over region rival Lumpkin County Friday night at Tigers Stadium.

A huge crowd watched as the Tigers dominated in every phase of the game to get the victory.

Senior running back Hunter Mitchell had a big game.

Mitchell rushed the ball 17 times for 194-yards and an amazing four touchdowns.

Mitchell scored in each quarter as the Tigers steamrolled the Indians.

Mitchell now has 123 carries for 920-yards on the season and nine touchdowns on the ground.

With 80 yards in this Friday's game at Johnson he will surpass the 1,000-yard mark.

"Hunter continues to play at a very high level. He runs with great confidence and aggression and does a nice job of catching the ball out of the backfield," said Dawson County High School Offensive Coordinator Andrew LeBlanc. "We feel he has big play potential whenever he touches the ball. He is one of our team leaders and does a great job of leading through effort and determination."

Mitchell also had two catches for 11 yards.

The Tiger defense also received its second consecutive shutout and their third of the season.

Last week, Dawson County held Banks County to zero points in a 45-0 win.

"Having a shutout against Lumpkin Friday night made this region championship extra special. Lumpkin did a good job moving the ball on us, but unfortunately for them, penalties slowed them down," said Defensive Coordinator Brent Cox said. "The defense continues to improve each week. The intensity and speed of our game must increase so we can compete at a high level. Friday night is another step in this direction."

The only threat of the evening by Lumpkin County came in the second quarter.

The Indians lined up for a 46-yard field goal that was blocked by Andrew Goley, stopping the drive.

Goley also had a blocked punt in the contest.

Dawson County is now 6-3 overall and 5-1 in region play.

The Tigers only hiccup on the region schedule was a 31-15 loss at Fannin County.

Lumpkin County fell to 2-7 overall and 0-5 in region play.

The Indians will finish their season Friday night with a region game at home against West Hall.

Mitchell's first touchdown came on a 59-yard sprint to the end zone with 5:20 left to play in the first quarter. The two-point conversion was no good and the Tigers jumped ahead 6-0.

Quarterback Coey Watson found a streaking Nick Murphy for a 45-yard pass that took the ball down to the Indian one-yard line and set up the second score of the evening.

Two plays later Mitchell crossed the goal line from one yard out and gave the Tigers a 12-0 advantage.

Alan Sanchez added the extra point and Dawson County was up 13-0 with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.

Logan Hurst scored the second touchdown of the quarter on a 7-yard run. Sanchez converted on the point after and made the score 21-0 with 5:29 left before halftime.

The scoring continued in the third quarter.

Lumpkin started the second half with a botched onside kick that gave Dawson County great field position.

The Tigers didn't take long to capitalize.

Tucker Maxwell hauled in a screen pass from Watson and outran the Indian secondary for a 38-yard score just 34 seconds into the second half. Sanchez hit the extra point and the rout was on. The Tigers led 28-0.

Watson finished the game completing 10 of 15 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Maxwell caught two passes for 33 yards, Austin Young had three catches for 37 yards, Murphy caught two balls for 60 yards and Brandon Monkus had a catch for 11 yards.

Mitchell added his third touchdown run of the game on a 1-yard plunge with 3:40 remaining in the quarter. Sanchez missed the extra point and the Tigers lead was extended to 34-0.

In the fourth quarter, Mitchell scored from the 6-yard line with 10:10 remaining in the game. Sanchez hit the point after to make the final score 41-0.

"I thought the offense played well. We executed at a pretty high level and most importantly stayed out of negative situations. We were successful on first down, allowing us to use our entire playbook on second or third down," LeBlanc said. "The offensive line continues to get better as the year goes on. They are a great bunch of kids to coach and take a lot of pride in the offense; Coach (Derek) Waters has done an outstanding job with them. From the start of summer, they were told that this offense starts and ends with them. They have taken on that challenge and are a huge reason the offense has become successful. They work hard and do a great job of playing with confidence, which shows through their execution and lack of penalties. We wouldn't be in the situation we are if it wasn't for the offensive line."

Defensive coordinator Brent Cox said he was proud of the way his unit played Friday night.

"Defensive backs did a nice job defending the pass Friday night so that our linebackers could be more aggressive against Lumpkin's strong running game," he said. "The trenches Friday night were controlled by our front linemen. We attribute this success to utilizing many defensive linemen throughout the game. This resulted in our men staying fresh the whole game."

Both coordinators commented that nothing will change at practice this week in preparation for Johnson.

"The support from the Dawson County community has been tremendous. It is a privilege to be a part of this program and nothing was more fitting than Friday night's game," LeBlanc said.

Dawson County will finish the regular season with a non-region game at Johnson High School in Gainesville.

The Knights will come into the contest with a 2-7 record after losing to Franklin County, 14-7, last week.

The Tigers, by winning the region, will host the first round of the state playoffs on Nov. 13 against the No. 4 seed out of Region 6-AAA.

Currently there is a tie between North Murray (4-5; 4-3) and Ringgold (5-4; 4-3) for that position.

North Murray plays at Ringgold Friday night.