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Tigers clinch playoff berth
boys soccer pic
Senior Dennis Pyetsukh battles with a Fannin County defender in the second half of Friday's game at Tigers Stadium. Pyetsukh had a goal and an assist to help the Tigers clinch a berth in the state playoffs. - photo by Colin Ochs

The Tigers are going to the playoffs. 

Despite a slow start to the season, the Dawson County High School Tigers varsity soccer team was able to clinch a spot in the state tournament with a 4-2 win over Fannin County on Friday at Tiger Stadium.

“All season long, we’ve been trying to focus on pulling together and working together as a team,” said Coach Derek Waters about his team’s growth throughout the season.

With Dawson County (5-6, 3-2 Region 7-AAA) struggling to find a rhythm early in the season, it was perhaps fitting that in the game that clinched them a spot in the playoffs, the Tigers struggled to find a rhythm early there as well, giving up a goal less than 10 minutes into the game to fall behind 1-0. But like their season, the Tigers rallied, scoring three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.

The Tiger’s scoring started when freshman Caleb Bonesteel started a counter-attack to assist on the game-tying goal scored by junior Patrick Rosales with just under 25 minutes left in the first half.

Less than three minutes later, the Tigers were at it again, only this time it was senior to senior. Senior Dennis Pyetsukh scored the goal after receiving a long stretch pass from fellow senior Nathan Blythe.

Up 2-1, the Tigers didn’t rest. It took Dawson County a mere 30 seconds to score again after Pyetsukh’s goal. This time Pyetsukh made the crossing pass to sophomore Pablo Hernandez who buried the ball and subsequently Fannin County (10-4, 2-3 Region 7-AAA).

The Rebels were never able to recover from the Tigers’ three-goal barrage as Dawson County buckled down on defense early in the second half while scoring another goal, this time off a corner kick. Junior Xavier Sanchez was able to find the loose ball and knock it home to put the Tigers up 4-1.

Goalkeeper Braden Davison made several key saves as Fannin County was only able to score their second goal late in the contest after the game was already well decided.

Even with the playoff-clinching win, Waters still feels his team has more to give which should bode well once the playoffs start should Dawson County get to the level of play Waters feels they can reach.

“Still got a little ways to go to get where I would like to be and to where I’ve seen us in the past with Coach Lacey, but we’re making improvements,” Waters said. “We’re getting there.”