Jeff Lee and the Dawson County Tiger football team just can't seem to get a break.
The Tigers dropped a close 28-21 decision to host East Jackson giving them a 3-6 record with one game remaining.
Dawson County has now lost its last four games by an average of seven points. The team lost to Fannin County, 20-17, Rabun County, 26-18, North Oconee, 16-7 and last Friday's loss to East Jackson.
"Turnovers turned us in," a very frustrated Lee commented. "We had several chances, but just coughed up the football."
Once again the Dawson special teams came up with a big play leading to a touchdown.
East Jackson lined up for a punt and the Tigers came roaring through their line blocking the kick attempt.
Senior Jacob Perry scooped up the ball and rumbled 26-yards for the touchdown. David Scully added the extra point and the Tigers jumped out on top 7-0 with 9:33 to play in the first quarter.
East Jackson answered with a touchdown of its own.
The Eagles punched one in after a fumble by the Tigers at their own 26-yard line. Eagle running back Robbie King scored from 2-yards out.
The extra point was no good and Dawson held on to a slim 7-6 lead.
Tiger Stephen King added to Dawson's lead when he scored from the 3- yard line. Scully added the extra point and the Tigers held a 14-6 lead with 10:29 left in the second quarter.
Coach Frank Caputo's East Jackson team wouldn't give up without a fight.
The Eagles took the next offensive possession and marched 64 yards.
Eagle running back Kendrick Stephens took a handoff and went untouched into the end zone from 2-yards out. East was successful on a 2-point conversion that tied the score at 14-14.
On the ensuing kick-off, Tiger Tommy Lin returned the football to the Eagle 30 yard line on a 61-yard return.
Unfortunately, Dawson's offense couldn't take advantage of the great field position. An interception stopped the drive with 1:43 left before halftime.
The Eagles took the opening kick-off of the second half and mounted a 80-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Stephens scored on the seventh play of the drive from the 20-yard line. East Jackson added the extra point to take its first lead of the game, 21-14.
Sophomore Tiger Ethan Brown started the second half at quarterback for Dawson.
Brown led the Tigers on an impressive 47-yard drive down to East Jackson's 15-yard line.
The Eagle defense stiffened, forcing Dawson to try a 22-yard field goal. The attempt was wide right, stopping the scoring opportunity.
"Ethan did a great job running the option for us," said Lee. "He threaded some passes. We are really pleased with the job he did at quarterback. He kept us in the game."
Dawson's defense came up with a big play to start the fourth quarter.
Tiger linebacker King fell on a fumble by Eagle running back Stephens, to put Dawson back in business on offense.
"Defensively we played well with the exception of one drive," said Lee.
The fumble seemed to swing the momentum toward the Tigers.
Brown led the team methodically down the field. Dawson running back Eian Perry found pay dirt from 1-yard out as he bullied his way into the end zone. Scully added the extra point notching the game at 21-21
with just 8:38 to play.
East Jackson answered. The Eagles scored with only 4:38 to play on a fade pattern to the right corner. East Jackson added the extra point and took charge of the game 28-21.
Lee and his offense had one more chance to tie the score. Behind the arm of Gilreath, Dawson marched the length of the field. Receptions by TJ Byrd, King, Justin Wende and Kelsey Boyle moved the ball down to the East Jackson 29-yard line. However, an interception with 2:57 remaining, virtually ended the game.
"We have been in every game. It's really frustrating for our kids and coaches," said Lee.
This week the team will host Riverside Military Academy (6-3; 5-3) who defeated Union County 37-20 last Friday. Riverside still has a playoff goal in its sight and must defeat Dawson County to stay alive.
"They may have the best player in the region in running back Julian Suber," said Lee. "He has rushed for more than 200 yards several times this season."
Suber had 207 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns against Union County on Friday. The junior is a transfer to Riverside from AAAAA powerhouse Brookwood.
"We are going to have to limit the big play from them. I know our seniors want to go out with a win and will show up to play this Friday," said Lee
It will be Senior Night at Tiger Stadium this week.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
E-mail Pam Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org.