The Dawson County High School varsity Tigers football team was part of another thrilling football game Friday night at Chestatee High School in Gainesville.
Trailing 21-3 at halftime, the Tigers rallied to take a 22-21 lead in the fourth quarter. However, Chestate scored with 1:55 left to take the 27-22 win.
Dawson dropped to 1-3 on the season. The Tigers have a bye week this week before beginning Region 8A-AA play Sept. 30 at Fannin County.
Inability to put points on the scoreboard in the first half left Dawson trailing by 18-points at intermission. The Tigers came away with just three points after driving inside the Chestatee 10-yard line twice.
Chestatee quarterback Jordan Degraff had a big game for the Eagles. In the first half Degraff threw a touchdown and ran for two more touchdowns.
The Eagles scored first just 1:23 into the first quarter. Degraff found wide receiver Montral Tate on a 69-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good by Leo Molina and gave Chestatee a quick 7-0 lead.
Head Coach Jeff Lee's Tigers added a field goal by Max Muldoon from 25-yards out to trim the Eagle lead to 7-3 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
Chestatee wasn't through.
The Eagles scored their second touchdown of the quarter with no time left on the clock on a Degraff 8-yard run.
Molina hit the extra point and it was 14-3 War Eagles after one quarter of play.
Chestatee Head Coach Stan Luttrell's War Eagles added another touchdown midway through the second quarter. On fourth and one from the 38-yard line Degraff found an opening on the left side of Dawson's defense and scored on a quarterback option. Again, the extra point was true and Chestatee went into halftime with a 21-3 lead.
It looked doubtful for the Tigers heading into the third quarter.
Tigers quarterback Tyler Dominy caught fire in the second half. Dominy led the Tigers on three touchdown scores in the final two quarters.
On the opening possession of the first half Dawson went on a 16-play, 80-yard drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Zack Martin. Muldoon connected on the extra point and with 5:25 left in the third quarter Dawson cut the Chestatee lead to 21-10.
Three plays later Chestatee was knocking at the door. The War Eagles drove the ball down to the Dawson 3-yard line, but turned it over on a fumble. Tigers Scott Parker recovered the ball on the 10-yard line.
Dawson used 13 plays to cover 90 yards to score its second touchdown of the half.
Dominy found favorite receiver Bruce Clark in the right corner of the end zone from 11-yards out for the touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed, which made the score 21-16.
The Tigers finally grabbed the lead with 4:34 left in the game. Martin scored his second touchdown of the contest on a 1-yard dive play. Dawson was ahead 22-21.
Chestatee then mounted its winning drive from its own 35-yard line. Seven plays later Degraff hit wide out Kelly Arthur on a 20-yard touchdown pass with just 1:55 to play. The War Eagles two-point attempt was no good but the team held a 27-22 advantage.
The Tigers had one last chance, but it came to an end when Dominy connected with Will Anglin on fourth-and-eleven. Anglin was stopped 1-yard short, which ended the game.
Anglin had a breakout game for the Tigers. He caught several passes from Dominy and accrued more than 50-yards on the ground.
Degraff finished 6-of-9 for 184 yards with two touchdowns. The junior also rushed for 67 yards and scored on runs of 8 and 38-yards to lead the War Eagles to their first 3-0 start since 2007.
"We preached 48 minutes to our kids at halftime, and they never stopped," Lee said. "We knew we had to play a near-perfect second half to get back in the game against a very good and undefeated Chestatee team. And we almost did, but we came up 1-yard short."
Dominy had a spectacular evening. He completed 23 of 29 passes for 289 yards and a touchdown.