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Middle schoolers capture championship
Middle School Football pic
Tiger running back Luke Smith gets away from an arm tackle by Pickens. - photo by Pam Jacobs Dawson Community News

Dawson County didn't need a trick play to open the game last week, the middle school Tigers used the hardcore running by running back Coey Watson to capture the Mountain League Championship with a 28-20 defeat of Pickens on Oct. 3 in Jasper.

The game was played at Pickens County High School.

Watson used the beautiful blocking of his offensive line to tally all four touchdowns for head coach Benjy Edwards' team.

The Tigers took the opening drive and marched down the field to score the first touchdown with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter. Watson crossed the goal line after a great 15-yard run.

Frankie Muldoon added the extra point and Dawson led 7-0.

Pickens, who was undefeated at 4-0, countered with a touchdown of its own on a 6-yard run. The two-point conversion was good and the Dragons took an 8-7 lead with 3:59 left in the first quarter.

The Dawson offense couldn't move the ball on its next possession. Tiger Peyton Allen punted the ball back to the Dragons.

Edwards' team's defense came up big with an interception by Drew Albert on its own 14-yard line that stopped the Dragons offensive drive.

The Tigers then went on an 85-yard drive of its own, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by Watson.

Muldoon added the extra point and Dawson held a 14-8 advantage with 6:54 remaining in the second quarter.

Once again, the Pickens' team would not surrender.

The Dragons scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with 3:52 remaining in the second. This time the two-point conversion was not successful and the game was tied 14-14.

With only 57 seconds remaining before halftime, Watson scored his third touchdown on a 3-yard plunge across the goal line. Muldoon was good on the extra point and Dawson was up 21-14.

Pickens used the most of its three remaining time outs and drove the ball the length of the field to score again with just 14 seconds left in the half. The two-point conversion was no good and Dawson went into halftime with a 21-20 lead.

"We made a few adjustments at the half and came out playing strong," Edwards said.

Defense has been a main factor in the championship season for the Tigers.

The Tigers held Pickens scoreless over the next two quarters to come away with the victory.

Watson added his fourth touchdown with 5:44 remaining in the contest on a 1-yard run.

Muldoon added a fourth extra point and Dawson held a 28-20 lead.

The Tigers swarmed as the buzzer sounded giving them the championship and avenging the team's previous loss to the Dragons.

The team completed the season with a 4-1 record.

"The defense played incredible in the second half. They stopped Pickens on the opening drive and turned the momentum over to our team. Defensively, we struggled getting stops in the first half but when we had the lead at half I felt really good. This defense has had a shutout in either the first or second half of every game this year. And they were able to do it again when everything was on the line," Edwards said.

"We worked all week staying on blocks and the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. They opened up some big holes for Coey Watson and Luke Smith. Both guys ran the ball hard. Quarterback Cullen Reed made some great reads and great passes to Drew Albert and Ryan Glass," Edwards said.

Members of this year's team were: Cullen Reed, Connor Bearden, Frankie Muldoon, Wyatt Haase, Matt Kenny, Chance Armstrong, Jack Glover, Hunter Hicks, Luke Smith, Sean Paul McKiddy, Drew Albert, Coey Watson, Mason Barrett, Easton Wright, Ben Beck, Cole Rogers, Scott Smith, Jack Pharris, Bo Lewis, Preston Swafford, Robert Rarick, Kane Pelfrey, Joey Flowers, Levi Baggett, Logan Sanders, Justin Butler, Zach Conowal, Dawson Dominy, Taylor Swofford, Gage Tomlinson, Zach Smith, Peyton Allen, Jake Blackstock, Christian Summers, Blaine Thomason, Alex Hill, Rob Cox, Karson Pharris, Ryan Glass, Wesley Hollaway and Brandon Branson.