The beat marches on for the Dawson County middle school Tigers football team.
In a much anticipated battle between two undefeated teams, the Tigers came away with a dominating 26-12 victory at Clear Creek Middle School on Thurday.
What's more noteworthy about the win is that Dawson County was playing without starting quarterback Trey Pruitt, who has a broken arm and his status is unsure for the rest of this season.
"I am just so proud of our guys to overcome some injuries and still come away with a big win," said Coach Benjy Edwards. "The defense continues to make big stops and cause turnovers. The offense continues to control the ball and put points on the board. It was just a great all-around performance against Clear Creek."
Filling in at the quarterback position was Kelton LeBaron. LeBaron took his first snap at the new position during Monday's practice and preformed great against the Bobcats on Thursday.
"Kelton did everything we asked him to do. He played great. He did not fumble a snap and even threw for a touchdown. Kelton really stepped up big for this team," Edwards said.
The Tigers offense scored 26 points against a Bobcat defense that hadn't surrendered a point all season.
Things didn't look so rosy to begin Thursday's game. Clear Creek took the opening kickoff and scored just four minutes into the contest. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful but the Bobcats held a 6-0 lead.
Edwards's team answered putting together a drive of their own highlighted by a Luke Smith to Ryan Glass pass of 35-yards putting the Tigers in a position to score.
Dawson County got on the board when LeBaron found Levi Baggett on a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. The PAT was not good and the score was tied at six each.
Both defensive teams battled in the second quarter allowing neither team any points. The scored at half time was 6-6.
The Tigers received the ball to start the second half. Coach Edwards and the offense began to pound the middle of the Bobcat defense with their running game. Tiger running backs Luke Smith and Robbie Rarick ran hard wearing down the Clear Creek defense.
In the third quarter the offensive surge paid off with a Luke Smith touchdown run from 11-yards out. The PAT was no good and Dawson County took a 12-6 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Tigers defense came up big on the next possession causing a Bobcat turnover.
With some great blocking from the Tigers offensive line, Luke Smith scored again from 7-yards out. This time Frankie Muldoon converted the PAT giving Dawson County a 19-7 advantage.
After another defense stop the Tigers regained possession of the football. "They (Clear Creek) started overplaying Luke so we went to fullback Robbie Rarick," said Coach Edwards.
The strategy worked as Rarick amassed two 20 plus yard runs. The Tigers added their final score on a 22-yard run by Smith in the fourth quarter. Muldoon was true on the PAT and the Tigers were up 26-6.
Clear Creek added a late fourth quarter touchdown but it was too late with Dawson County coming away with a huge win.
"It is always good to come away with a win over Clear Creek. They are always one of the top teams in this league and we know every year that it will be a battle," Edwards said.
"I am just glad to see the players improving every week and stepping up to the challenge. We throw a lot of different things at them every week and they step up and do what we ask. I give them the credit."
Dawson County is now 4-0 and has the inside track to make the playoffs. Clear Creek falls to 3-1 with the loss.
Up next for the Tigers is a home game with Union County tomorrow. The game will be played at Riverview Middle School with a 5:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We are going into this week just like any other game. We will prepare the kids to defend the spread offense and we will keep doing what we have been doing on offense. Our players have a goal of finishing the regular season undefeated," Edwards said.
Union County is 1-3 on the season.