Dawson County traveled to Dahlonega last Friday night to play the Lumpkin County Indians in the opening game of the season for both clubs. The Indians rallied in the second half to pull off a 13-0 victory.
The first half was slow, as both teams struggled offensively.
Dawson mounted the only drive going 10 plays and using over six minutes on the clock. Runs by Tiger backs Josh Swisher and Eian Perry took the ball down to the Indian 46-yard line. Dawson was stopped on downs and gave the ball back to Lumpkin.
It was the only offensive push by either team in the half. The Tigers managed only 57 total yards to Lumpkin’s 52 yards in the half.
The score at half was 0-0.
“We had a ball controlled drive, but just couldn’t sustain it,” said Tiger coach Jeff Lee. “For us to be successful we must hold on to the ball.”
Tiger Eian Perry opened the second half with a great kick return. He carried the ball all the way down to the Indian 37-yard line. But Dawson couldn’t pick up a first down and had to punt to Lumpkin.
Lumpkin took control of the game on its next drive. Running back Ian McIntosh found a hole on his left side and scored on a 46-yard run on the second play from scrimmage. With 8:25 to go in the third quarter Lumpkin jumped ahead 6-0. The extra point was blocked by Tiger Eian Perry on a great play.
Disaster struck Lee’s offense on their next possession. Junior quarterback Ethan Brown attempted a pitch on an option play, but it was off course, leading to a Tiger fumble. Lumpkin recovered the ball at Dawson’s 26-yard line.
The Dawson defense stiffened. On fourth and eight from the 24-yard line, Indian quarterback Taylor Guthrie found a receiver in the flat, but a huge hit by Brown stopped Lumpkin short of a first down.
The Indians struck the decisive blow in the fourth quarter.
After marching 13 plays and eating up five minutes and 52 seconds, Indian fullback Lance Chuvala took a handoff from Guthrie and lumbered three-yards into the end zone. The extra point was good and with 8:50 to play Lumpkin held a 13-0 lead.
On the next kickoff, Perry fumbled, giving Lumpkin the ball.
Defensive coordinator Van Samples’ defense was able to hold the Indians out of the end zone.
A highlight on defense was a recovered fumble by defensive tackle Mason Cox after an Indian fumble with 1:04 remaining in the game.
Running back Swisher finished the game with nine rushes for 53 yards.
Brown had a long night from behind center. He was sacked four times for losses totaling 20 yards and a fumble. Brown was 3-for-7 passing for a total of 19 yards.
The offense, which really struggled in the second half, picked up only two first downs. Dawson was held to only 68 total yards for the contest.
On a positive note, the team only had one penalty called on them the entire game.
This Friday, Dawson County will travel to last year’s Region 8-AA champion, Jefferson. Jefferson defeated Commerce last week 30-13.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.