High school football will start for most teams in the state Friday night. It will be a chance for players and coaches to see how far they have come after all the weight training, agilities, passing camps and conditioning over the summer.
The time is now for the Dawson County football team. The Tigers open the season with a showdown against neighboring Pickens County High School on Friday night at a renovated Tiger Stadium.
Dawson fans will notice several changes to the stadium. There is a new scoreboard, concession stand and the finishing touches are being put on for a new track.
Visiting bleachers will be another added feature for fans that come and watch football at the stadium.
"We are expecting a big crowd," said head coach Jeff Lee. "This is a big game for us. I stressed to the coaching staff how important it is for us to get off to a good start."
Last year the Dragons pulled out a 27-14 win over the visiting Tigers. Both teams went on to finish the season with a 3-7 record. Pickens plays in Region 7-AAA.
Pickens quarterback and free safety Jordan Shaw was the deciding factor in last year's game. Shaw has graduated and will be tough to replace for the Dragons.
The Dragons scored on two big plays in last week's scrimmage game with West Hall. Pickens looked sharp in the 28-16 win.
"This will be a tall order for us. They, Pickens, beat us last season. We absolutely cannot give up a big play against our defense. On offense, we must score when given the chance. I feel if we don't beat ourselves we will have a chance to win," Lee said.
The Tigers were off last week after a scrimmage with Greater Atlanta Christian School the week prior.
Practice last week was very physical, according to Lee.
Each day was filled with lots of one-on-one and three-on-three tackling drills.
"Some of our guys grew up the last four days of practice. I think we got a whole lot better this week because of the physical nature of practice. We have some bumps and bruises, but we have another week to get healed," Lee said.
The Tigers will get their legs back under them Monday and Tuesday of this week. Wednesday will be a day in which both offense and defense will polish up their schemes to get ready for Pickens.
Thursday will be a short day and Friday will be game time for the Tigers.
"I can't stress enough how big this game is for us this season," Lee said.
Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.