Dawson County Head Coach Jeff Lee sighed with relief Friday as his Tigers notched their first win, 6-0, over Rabun County on the road.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win, and we sure will take it,” an emotional Lee said.
The game featured a combined 19 penalties for 155 yards by both teams.
The Tigers (1-4, 1-3 in Region 8-AA) scored the games only touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Ethan Brown connected with tight end Grant Brown for a 41-yard pass. Grant Brown raced down the home sideline for the touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the six points were all Dawson needed to secure the win.
It was the only pass Brown completed all night on five attempts.
“It was a great win for us,” said Lee.
The all-purpose quarterback finished the game with 96 yards total offense. He had eight rushes for 55 yards and the 41-yard pass completion.
Dawson kicked off to start the game. On the Wildcats second play from scrimmage, they fumbled. Defensive end Grant Brown pounced on the loose ball at the Wildcat 33-yard line.
The Wildcats turned the ball over four times in the ball game.
With 1:06 remaining in the first quarter, Chase Williams sacked Rabun freshman quarterback Clinton Scott forcing a fumble. Williams recovered the ball, but Dawson could not take advantage on offense.
Rabun County’s running back Daniel Campbell broke loose for an apparent 29-yard touchdown run with 7:34 left before halftime. A holding penalty on the Wildcats wiped out the score.
Campbell had a huge game for Rabun County. Campbell carried the ball 32 straight times for 181 yards on the ground.
“We knew he, Campbell, would carry the ball a lot. I thought our defense did a great job of containing him,” said Lee.
It was a defensive struggle for the rest of the half. Neither team could get on the scoreboard.
The Tigers took the opening possession of the third quarter and mounted a drive. Dawson took the ball down to the Rabun 41-yard line before two penalties forced a punting situation.
Rabun took over with 8:33 left in the third quarter.
Eleven plays later the Wildcats were knocking on the goal line.
The Tiger defense rose to the occasion, again stopping Rabun on three straight plays from the six-yard line, forcing a field goal. The field goal attempt was wide left, leaving the score notched at 0-0.
Tiger running back Eian Perry ran the ball five straight times for 17 yards to end the third quarter.
The Wildcat defense stacked the line of scrimmage to begin the fourth quarter. Perry finished the game with 17 carries for 50 yards.
Lee called a great play, as Brown found Grant Brown wide open after a run fake.
“I felt they would call a run defense and they did. Ethan had a great ball fake and Grant made a fantastic catch and run,” Lee said.
Dawson recovered another fumble on Rabun’s next drive. It seemed the Tigers had added another touchdown on a run by fullback Josh Swisher from 38-yards, but a holding penalty brought the ball back.
The Tigers put the game away on an interception by Levi Wilson at the 22-yard line with 3:26 remaining.
“The players deserved this win,” said Lee. “They played hard. Our defense got a shutout and we gave ourselves a chance.”
Lee’s offense had 243 total yards to Rabun’s 198 total yards. It was the first shutout by a Tiger defense since Oct. 13, 2006 when Dawson blanked Union County 38-0.
Freshman quarterback Tyler Dominy saw some action Friday night. Dominy completed a pass to Levi Wilson in the second quarter for four-yards.
The Tigers will be back in action this week as the team hosts Oglethorpe County.
The Patriots are coming off a 31-28 loss to Fannin County last week.
Oglethorpe is currently 1-4 on the season and 0-4 in Region 8-AA. The team’s only win this year is a 37-7 victory over Athens Christian Academy.
Last season the Tigers defeated the Patriots, 27-6.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.