The Dawson County Tigers traveled to Blue Ridge on Friday, Oct. 19 to take on the Fannin County Rebels in their first game since their first-of-the-season loss to Greater Atlanta Christian at the beginning of the month.
From the opening snap it was obvious that the Tigers had learned from that loss as they powered their way up and down the field behind a dominant defensive line and a resurgent passing game, overpowering the Rebels in a 53–7 victory.
The Tiger defense was put to the test first as the Rebels elected to receive the opening kickoff. Featuring junior running back Trelyn Owensby, who has run for over 200 yards twice this season, Fannin County’s run-based attack quickly knocked out back-to-back first downs before the Tiger defensive line, led by senior Zac Baloga, was able to force the Rebels into a punting situation.
“That’s a good team over there. We’re taking them seriously,” said Defensive Line Coach Gregory Baloga. “Their running back is good.”
The addition of senior Ahmad Kamara to the defensive backfield allowed the Tigers to stuff the box and completely shut down the Rebels run game as the 23-yard drive marked the longest drive of the night for the Fannin County Rebels until late in the third quarter.
On the other side of the ball, the Tiger offense debuted an up-tempo passing attack that thrilled the crowd and kept the Rebels defense on their heels throughout the first half.
Senior quarterback Vaughn Clark opened the game with a one-minute, three-play, 75-yard drive that featured a 64-yard catch and run from tight end TJ Wilson and ended with Kamara’s first touchdown run to put the Tigers on top 7–0 at the 7:36 mark of the first quarter.
The Tigers’ second drive featured another heavy dose of passing from Clark, who finished the night nine of 12 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tigers put their second touchdown on the board in just over two and a half minutes of play.
A Caleb Bonesteel field goal closed out the first quarter with the Tigers comfortably in the lead 18–0.
“I didn’t like our tempo against GAC,” said Head Coach Sid Maxwell. “We worked on it during the off-week. The passing game as well.”
Dawson County’s offense continued to operate at a fast pace as they ran four more drives in the second quarter, adding receiving touchdowns from Dakohta Sonnichsen and Ryan Glass as well as two rushing touchdowns from junior running back Shawn Thomas to rack up a 46–0 lead by halftime.
Junior Varsity quarterback Maximos Moon took over the Tiger offense for the second half and immediately engineered a six-play drive that ended with an Isaiah Grindle off-tackle run for the Tigers’ final touchdown of the night.
With just over a minute left in the third quarter, Fannin County Rebels senior wide receiver Evan Taylor blew past his man to get behind the secondary of the Tigers and hauled in an absolute beauty of a pass to put the Rebels on the board with a 60-yard touchdown strike; Fannin County’s only score of the game.
The fourth quarter moved rapidly as the Tigers turned to their running game to use as much clock as possible. Another promising drive for the Rebels ended with a fumble late in the fourth quarter and the Tigers were able to run out the clock to move to 7–1 overall record and a 3–1 regional record.
The Fannin County Rebels face the Lumpkin County Indians in their next game while the Tigers return to Dawson County for their homecoming game against the Cherokee Bluff Bears on Friday, Oct. 26.