Dawson County will play an old rival this Friday night, when the team travels to Dahlonega to play neighboring Lumpkin County.
Last year, the Tigers came away with a 26-23 win in Dawsonville.
The Tigers have won four out of the last five meetings with the Indians, dating back to 2002.
“Lumpkin has a couple of good running backs and a couple of really good defensive players,” said Head Coach Jeff Lee. “Their quarterback scares us.”
The Indians lost 15 of 22 starters from last years 4-6 team. The team will rely on a lot of youth to fill those lost positions.
Taylor Guthrie will start at quarterback for Lumpkin County. Head Coach Tommy Jones, in his third season, says that his starting quarterback throws the ball really well.
On the receiving end of those passes will be returning four-year starter Chad Fulton. Fulton (5-10, 160) caught 23 passes for 375 yards in 2008. Guthrie will also look to Chris Lopez at wide out.
In the backfield, the Indians will rely on Ian McIntosh, Jake McClure and Lance Chuvala.
The team did not return any starters from last year’s offensive line. However, the Indians will rely on Michael Flanagan, Gus Jones, Travis Burton, Josh Rogers (6-3, 275) and John Harris to fill the void left after last year’s graduation.
Jones has gone away from running the Wing-T and will employ more of an I-option attack this season. On third down, watch out as Lumpkin will spread it out and go to the shotgun formation.
Defensively, the team will line up in a 3-5 formation with a little 3-4 mixed in.
Four-year starter McClure and Chuvala (6-0, 200) along with returning starter David Webber will head up the defense.
In the secondary, Lumpkin County returns starter Fulton along with sophomore McIntosh and junior free safety Kaylan Temples.
“It should be a good game,” said Lee. “We have to keep ball control, which is a big key for us. We have to move the chains. Our goal is to keep their offense on the sideline.”
Lee is concerned about the kicking game.
“The kicking game is going to be a big concern. Last year we scored 12 points off their kicking mistakes. We have to keep them pinned down to a third of the field. Kicking is going to be a journey for us,” he said.
“I never thought I would say this, but Lumpkin is going to throw it more than we are. Defensively, we have to stop their running game and keep their quarterback contained,” Lee added.
Lumpkin has never won a region championship in the history of the school.
Their last playoff appearance was in 2003 when they played in Class AA.
It’s been three years since the Tigers have had a winning season and four years since their last trip to the playoffs.
The Tigers have to hold on to the ball and milk the clock to be successful against Lumpkin this week.