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Rebels rally past Tigers
Dawson falls to 1-3 in region
DCHS V Fball pic 1
Tiger defenders Zach Johnson, Chase Williams and Nick Tobias wait on their defensive call during last Friday night's game at Fannin County. - photo by Photo/Pam Jacobs

The Fannin County Rebels squeaked by Dawson County last Friday night in Blue Ridge.



The Rebels scored late in the fourth quarter to take the lead and come away with a 20-17 win over the visiting Tigers.



With the win, Fannin has a 3-1 overall record and stands at 2-1 in Region 8-AA.



With the loss, Dawson County High School Head Football Coach Jeff Lee and his Tigers stand at a disappointing 1-3. The team is currently 0-3 in region play.



“Even though we lost, I was pleased with both the offense and defense,” Lee said.



“We had a couple of break downs, but both game plans were sound. There were just some variables that we couldn’t control that cost us,” he added.



Dawson set the tone early by scoring two quick touchdowns off of Fannin turnovers. The Tiger defense rose to the occasion and forced fumbles by Fannin that led to the two scores.



Cody Tobias recovered the first fumble with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tiger offense set up shop at the Rebel 24-yard line.



On third and nine from the 23-yard line, quarterback Chase Gilreath found tight end Grant Brown on the right hash for a 22-yard pass completion.



Two plays later, Gilreath handed the ball to Tobias who bulled his way into the end zone for a touchdown.



Dawson County kicker David Scully added the extra point and Dawson jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 7:29 remaining in the opening quarter.



After the kick-off by Scully the Rebels coughed it up again.



Fannin running back Devan Morris was hit by Evan Weatherford, which forced another fumble. Brown pounced on the loose ball and Dawson was back in business.



After an offside penalty by the Tigers moved the ball back to the 25-yard line, Gilreath found TJ Byrd for a 13-yard pass completion. The completion moved the ball down to the 12-yard line.



One play later, Gilreath handed the ball to halfback Eian Perry who sprinted untouched from 11 yards out for the second Tiger touchdown.



Scully added the point after and Dawson held what seemed like a commanding 14-0 lead with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter.



Perry was Dawson’s leading rusher for the contest with 19 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown.



“Eian had a great game for us,” Lee said. “Fannin had a hard time finding him and Eian did a good job running the ball.”



Penalties haunted the Tigers. Dawson received six penalties in the first half for 50 yards. Just when it seemed that the Tigers had an advantage, the little yellow hanky appeared.



Despite the miscues Dawson held it’s own throughout the contest.



Fannin County came alive on offense in the second quarter. The Rebels went on an 11-play drive that took up 4 minutes and 44 seconds. It culminated with a fourth and goal from the 2-yard line. Rebel running back Morris found the end zone, and with the extra point, Fannin cut the lead in half, 14-7, with 6:50 left before halftime.



“For the most part, I was pleased with the play of our offensive line. They did a good job executing, but we still have work to do there. We had a good game plan and it was good, but the miscues hurt us,” Lee said of his offense.



The Tigers were three plays and out on their next possession.



Scully punted the ball 33-yards to give Fannin the ball at its own 35-yard line.



Seven plays later the Rebels found the end zone on a 12-yard run by Morris.



With 1:58 remaining before halftime, Fannin tied the game at 14-14 with the extra point.



In what seemed like it could be a rout by the Tigers turned into a tight ball game as the buzzer sounded to end the first two quarters. Momentum was definitely with the Rebels as the second half began.



Lee inspired his troops at halftime to “turn the corner.” His speech worked as the Tigers came out breathing fire.



After a 10-yard kick off return by Kelsey Boyle placed the ball at the Dawson 35-yard line the Tigers found something on offense that began to work.



Gilreath handed the ball to Perry on 4 of 6 plays during the series for 36 yards.



The drive advanced the football down to Fannin’s 29-yard line.



Gilreath then found Tobias on a 9-yard pass on 3rd and 6, which took the ball down to the Rebel 14-yard line.



The offense then stalled.



Scully came on to attempt a 17-yard field goal for the Tigers.



In what looked like a perfect kick splitting the uprights, the kick was ruled no good by the officials. Lee protested the call.



“I really thought that kick was good,” Lee said. “After the game we looked at the end zone camera and it split the uprights. It was a big turning point in the game, but our kids kept playing hard.”



The Tigers kept working.



Dawson took over possession at the 3:46 mark of the third quarter and went on a 7-play drive from their 42-yard line down to the Fannin 23-yard line.



Once again Fannin’s defense held the Tigers.



This time Scully’s kick was deemed true. He hit a 40-yard field goal to give Dawson a 17-14 lead at the 11:51 mark of the final quarter.



After receiving the ensuing kick off Fannin went on a drive of its own. Morris carried the ball 6 of 7 plays for 57 yards, which included a reception from quarterback Dean Nick for 18-yards.



Morris finished the scoring drive with a 4-yard run for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, which kept the Tigers chance alive. With 8:05 remaining Fannin held a slim 20-17 lead.



Morris finished the game with 24 carries for 129 yards and three touchdowns.



On the Tiger’s next chance on offense, Lee and his staff decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Tiger’s own 45-yard line with 5:08 remaining. Gilreath’s pass was batted down and fell incomplete, giving Fannin the ball.



“We told Chase to try and draw Fannin offsides, but he called time out, leaving us with just one,” Lee remarked. “I will take the blame for that one, but our kids wanted to go for it and we tried.”



Fannin tried to run out the clock to end the game, but with 1:28 left Rebel running back Josh Gaddy fumbled, and Tiger cornerback Tommy Lin recovered to give the Tigers new life.



But on the first play from scrimmage Gilreath was picked off, ending the contest.



Gilreath finished the game going 3 for 8. He passed for only 44 yards. Dawson managed only 140 yards of total offense.



The Rebels amassed 242 yards of offense, with 14 first downs.



What started as a promising evening for the Tigers, ended in another defeat.



The Tigers will return home this week for another Region 8-AA match-up with the Rabun County Wildcats.



Rabun will enter the contest with an 0-4 overall record.



“Rabun is getting better every game,” Lee said. “They are adjusting to a new system under new head coach Danny Durham. It will be an interesting game in which both coaching staffs will tell their players they have to win.”



Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Dawson County High School.



E-mail Pam Jacobs at