The bright banks of LED lights surrounding Tiger Stadium hummed to life for the first time this season when the Dawson County High School Tigers hosted the North Forsyth Raiders in a pre-season scrimmage Aug. 10 .
The crowd arrived early for the 7:30 p.m. kick-off and the familiar chaos that is a high school football game slowly began to mount.
“See It! Believe it! Achieve it! Together!” Character Coach Russell Davis fired up the team with a passionate pre-game sermon focusing on the ideas of brotherhood and teamwork.
“This will be a good test for our team in a good environment,” said third year North Forsyth Head Coach Robert Craft. “It will be a good chance to evaluate our personnel.”
The Raiders received the opening kick-off to start the game, and the Tigers quickly settled down to business forcing a quick three and out.
Featuring the backfield combination of quarterback Sevaughn Clark and halfback Ahmad Kamara, the Tigers began testing the Raider defense with a combination of inside runs and jet sweeps. Taking advantage of a strong offensive line that got stronger as the game went on; the Tigers were able to score quickly on a 49-yard scamper up the middle by Clark with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The teams exchanged possessions over the next five minutes of the first quarter with both defenses showing strength and speed against the run and getting pressure in the backfield. North Forsyth’s Honus Wagner broke the defensive struggle with an interception late in the first that positioned the Raiders for their first score of the game.
At the end of the first the score was tied at seven and remained tied through the second quarter as, once again, both teams settled down to the dirty work of defense.
Starting the second half with possession of the ball the Tigers took full advantage of the opportunity. Relying again on the speed and power of their backfield duo they drove the ball the length of the field and scored on a 9-yard Kamara run to open the second half and take a 14 to 7 lead.
The lead was short lived as a long run by Bryson Trigg of the Raiders on the next play from scrimmage set North Forsyth up for a quick red zone score. Just like that the game was again tied, this time at 14 all.
The third quarter continued to be an exciting affair as the Tigers, substituting Riley Herndon in at quarterback, began to air out the ball in a change of pace from the running game.
Once again the strategy paid off, as late in the third Herndon lofted a 32 yard bomb to the back of the end zone where it was snatched out of the air by tight end TJ Wilson for another Tiger touchdown bringing the score to Tigers 21, Raiders 14.
The Tigers defense, led by strong performances from Logan Barnes and Zac Baloga, continued to stymie the Raiders forcing another three and out to give the Tigers another shot on offense.
Still in at quarterback, Herndon quickly brought the team downfield using a short, precise passing game. As he dropped back for a critical third down, needing the first to continue the drive, he got the chance to demonstrate his speed. Breaking free from the Raider’s backfield pressure Herndon scrambled 30 yards for the touchdown, sealing the Tigers victory with a final score of 28 to14.
“Overall, we did a few things wrong,” said Tigers Head Coach Sid Maxwell. “But we did a lot of things right. We just need to settle down, focus and play the next play.”
The DCHS Tigers begin the regular season Friday night, Aug. 17, with an away game versus Habersham County. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.