An open week is just what the Dawson County High School varsity football team needs right now.
The Tigers are experiencing a rash of injuries to key skill people. It was evident Friday night with the Tigers dropped a 27-22 decision to Heritage-Catoosa.
Injured and not dressed out were Logan Hurst and Nick Murphy.
Dressed and handling punting duties only was Tucker Maxwell.
All three players are normally main targets for quarterback Coey Watson.
To compound the injury situation was the loss of running back Payton Myers in the second quarter.
Myers was off to a great start running the ball when he went down with an apparent leg injury.
Myers would not return to the game.
He finished with eight carries for 44 yards in only a quarter and a half.
Even with key players out, the Tigers had an almost perfect first half.
Heritage got on the scoreboard first on a 23-yard field goal by Alex Ahlyege to give the Generals a 3-0 lead.
Dawson County answered with a 71-yard drive that culminated in a Hunter Mitchell 1-yard plunge at 6:26 left in the second quarter.
The extra point was good by Alan Sanchez and Dawson County led 7-3.
Mitchell finished with 127 yards on 23 carries.
The Tigers added another touchdown three minutes later on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Watson.
Sanchez added the point after and with 3:09 before halftime the Tigers held a 14-3 advantage.
Dawson County looked in control going into the second half on Park and Recreation Night at Tigers Stadium.
The Tigers got the ball to start the second half. After three plays Maxwell punted to Heritage.
The Generals set up shop on their own 24-yardline.
Seventy-six yards later Heritage quarterback Corbee Wilson found receiver Ryan Carter on a 38-yard touchdown pass.
The extra point was blocked by Tiger Andrew Goley cutting the Dawson County lead to 14-9 with 6:13 to play in the third quarter.
Momentum began to shift toward Heritage when on their very next drive the Generals scored on a Wilson 10-yard run at the 4:01 mark of the third.
The two-point conversion was not successful and Heritage led 15-14.
Watson and the offense answered.
With only 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter Watson scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run. The two-point attempt failed and Dawson County took the lead back 20-15.
Heritage dominated the fourth quarter.
The Generals scored two more touchdowns.
The first came with 4:54 remaining in the game on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Luke Grant.
Once again the two-point conversion failed, but Heritage held a 21-20 lead.
The General defense intercepted a Watson pass and returned it to the Dawson County 35-yard line.
Heritage used a trick play on the first play from scrimmage.
Wilson found tackle-eligible Preston Hill on a 35-yard touchdown pass. The point after was blocked again by Goley and returned to midfield.
Dawson County had five turnovers in the game, four interceptions and a fumble.
The Tiger quarterback was intercepted again with 2:03 remaining at the 13-yard line by the General defense.
General quarterback Corbee Wilson took a safety making the score 27-22 with 22 seconds left in the contest.
After a poor punt by the Generals, Dawson County had good field position with a chance to win. But a desperation throw by Watson was picked off to end the game.
With the loss, Dawson County is now 1-2.
Following the week off, the Tigers will travel to Oakwood to face West Hall on September 22 in their first Region 7-AAA contest under new coach Sid Maxwell.
Watson finished the game connecting on 8 passes on 23 attempts for 152 yards. The sophomore quarterback also rushed the ball 15 times for 28 yards.
Six of those throws went to Young for 136 yards.
Brandon Monkus and Hunter Mitchell had one reception each.
With the win, Heritage moved to 2-1.