Fall is in the air and football is getting in high gear.
Teams are vying for region playoff spots and a position in the state playoffs.
This isn’t the case for Coach Jeff Lee’s Dawson County Tigers.
The Tigers took another blow on the chin in a 41-9 loss to an undefeated North Oconee (6-0, 5-0 Region 8-AA) team last Friday night in Bogart.
Dawson falls to 1-6 and 1-5 in Region 8-AA play.
Friday, the Tigers will play host to Union County, a team Lee has never lost to, at Tiger Stadium.
The Titans just overwhelmed Dawson County in the team’s homecoming game. Sensational North Oconee running back Brandon Whitlock had 19 carries for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Fellow running back Lane Thompson had five rushes for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Titans.
North Oconee out gained the Tigers 390-48 in total yards. The Titans rushed for 362 yards to Dawson County’s minus-44 yards, a school-record for North Oconee.
The Tigers were short-handed due to an undisclosed personal issue and started seven freshmen on defense.
Also making his first start at quarterback was ninth grader Tyler Dominy. Dominy started in place of injured quarterback Ethan Brown.
Lee’s troops received the opening kick-off to start the ball game. After a three and out, in which Dominy was sacked twice, the Titans set up shop on the Tigers 32-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Whitlock broke loose on a 32-yard scamper down the left side for his first touchdown of the evening.
The Titans held a quick 7-0 lead with 9:32 remaining in the first quarter.
Dominy was sacked nine times in the contest and threw two interceptions against what is considered one of the toughest defenses in the region. The Titans defense had pitched a shutout against their last three opponents.
North Oconee scored again with 6:13 to go in the quarter on a Whitlock 40-yard touchdown run.
After Whitlock’s second touchdown, the Dawson defense began to dig in. The Tigers held North Oconee scoreless on its next four possessions.
The Tigers offense finally got their initial first down midway through the second quarter on a completion from Dominy to running back Sam Edwards for a 17-yard gain. Other than that, not much was accomplished on offense in the half by the Tigers.
North Oconee scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes before halftime to put the game out of reach. The Titans scored on a touchdown pass to the tight end with 1:54 left to make the score 20-0.
Then back-up quarterback Lane Thompson took a direct snap and ran 80-yards down the left sideline to put the Titans up 27-0 with only 20 seconds to go before half.
North Oconee Head Coach Terry Tulley’s team put up two more touchdowns in the second half to stretch the team’s lead out to 41-0.
The Tigers finally got on the board on an errant snap into the end zone. The Titan punter fell on the ball to give Dawson a safety and made the score 41-2 late in the third quarter.
Dawson finally mounted a drive on its last possession of the game.
Starting on their own 45-yard line, Dominy found receivers Eian Perry, Levi Wilson and Bruce Clark to take the ball down to the Titan 15-yard line.
With six seconds remaining, Dominy hooked up with Wilson in the right corner of the end zone for the toucdown.
Edwards added the extra point to make the final score 41-9.
It was the first time North Oconee’s defense had been scored on in 15 quarters. On the touchdown play, North Oconee substituted their starting defense back into the game to try and stop Dawson County.
Football purest would consider this a controversial move by the Titan coach.
Obviously it didn’t work.
It was a very physical game. North Oconee was penalized on numerous occasions for personal fouls and late hits.
Tiger Cody McGinnis received a leg injury in the fourth quarter. His status was unclear as of press time.
Other Tigers were recipients of what appeared to be cheap shots as well, throughout the contest. Fortunately, no other injuries seemed to take place for Lee’s troops.