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Tigers are playoff bound
Varsity Football pic2
Tigers Taylor Swofford and Jeremy Whalen wrestle down a running back from Banks County. - photo by Ryan Coker Dawson County News

Region 7-AAA Standings

Dawson County         3-1    5-3
East Hall                    3-1    4-4
Franklin County         3-2    5-4
Banks County            2-2    5-3
Fannin County           2-2    4-4
West Hall                  1-3    3-5
Lumpkin County        0-4    2-6

The Dawson County High School Varsity Tigers football team is in the state playoffs.

The team bounced back after a poor showing at Fannin County to dominate Banks County Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers came away with a big 45-0 victory that guarantees them a spot in the playoffs.

The win propelled Dawson County to the top of Region 7-AAA. East Hall has the same region record at 3-1, but the Tigers defeated the Vikings in head to head competition earlier in the season.

A win this week over rival Lumpkin County will crown the Tigers as Region 7-AAA champions. It would be the first region championship in the 49-year history of the school.

Coach Sid Maxwell's team scored on six of its first seven possessions on Friday.

Banks County took the opening kickoff and was pinned back inside the five-yard line.

The Leopards (5-3; 2-2) went on a 57-yard drive that ate more than 10 minutes off the clock until the Tigers defense forced a punt.

The Tigers then went on a drive of their own and finished with a 45-yard, line drive field goal by Alan Sanchez that gave the team a 3-0 lead with just 1:01 left in the opening quarter.

Defensive coordinator Brent Cox's squad controlled the line of scrimmage all evening.

"We did a good job swarming to the ball against Banks County's good running backs. The results were the combined effort of our players and defensive coaches," Cox said. "After the Fannin County game, we, as a defensive unit, realized how much work needed to be done. The number one thing to change was attitude and effort. Banks County had so many weapons to defend."

Maxwell was also impressed with the play of the defense.

"They played better because of a combination of things. One was to change practice and the other was to buy in to what we are doing. We had people not doing their job, so we had to refocus them to take care of your job. We can't freelance. We did some things to keep the big play from happening. I thought the whole defense played well, especially the linebackers Luke Martin, Andrew Goley, Logan Hurst and Conor Woodbury," Maxwell said.

The second quarter was the Coey Watson and Tucker Maxwell show offensively.

Sophomore quarterback Watson connected with Maxwell in stride on a 39-yard touchdown pass at the 8:07 mark.

The two-point conversion was successful and extended the Dawson County lead to 11-0.

Watson found Maxwell again three minutes later with a beautiful ball down the Banks sideline for a 53-yard scoring pass. The point after was good by Sanchez and gave Dawson County an 18-0 lead with 5:08 before halftime.

"Our quarterback, Watson, delivered the ball at the right times all night. We were more focused this week. Coey (Watson) was on, focused, and threw some laser passes," said Maxwell.

Watson finished the game connecting on 9 of 11 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns.

The Tigers opened the second half on fire offensively. Dawson County scored three touchdowns in 2 minutes and 25 seconds to put the game out of reach.

Running back Hunter Mitchell was the offensive star of the third quarter.

Mitchell scored on a 21-yard run at 10:25 of the third. Sanchez added the extra point and Dawson County was in control 25-0.

On the ensuing kickoff Banks County let the ball drop in front of them and Woodbury recovered for the Tigers.

Two plays later Mitchell went untouched into the end zone for his second touchdown at 9:43. Sanchez was true with the kick and the Tigers held a 32-0 lead.

Mitchell rushed the ball six times for 141 yards.

Dawson County wasn't finished scoring in the quarter.

Watson found Maxwell for their third touchdown pass of the game from 48-yards out. Sanchez added the extra point and the score was 39-0

The final quarter was a running clock by GHSA rules.

But the Tigers weren't finished putting points on the board.

With 3:09 left, linebacker Logan Hurst intercepted a Leopard pass and scampered 45-yards for a score. The extra point was blocked making the final 45-0.

The Tigers had 379 total yards on offense.

"I thought special teams played well. The line blocked really well. We have Tucker (Maxwell) who can stretch the field with his speed. Then Austin Young gives us a possession type receiver. We also have a pretty good running game in Coey Watson and Hunter Mitchell," Maxwell said.

Maxwell said his team will have to stay focused to continue to advance.

"To get better we must keep working. We must buy in to what we are doing no matter who we are playing. I am really proud of the way the players work. We also have play each play and respond to each situation. I also thought our coaching staff did a great job of getting our kids ready to play," he said.

"We control our own destiny," Maxwell said. "We told our players that we play for the players that were here before us and for the ones yet to come. We must focus and watch each repetition. We need to focus on what we do. We must play fast as possible. We must play pressure football and be fast. Put our hard hat on and go to work."

Dawson County is now 5-3 overall and 3-1 in region play.

Lumpkin County comes into Friday's game on a 4-game losing streak. The Indians are 2-6 overall and 0-4 in region play. The Indians were off last week and defeated by Banks County, 48-31, the week before.