Rivalry game or not, the Dawson County Tigers had no trouble finishing off the Lumpkin County Indians on Friday night.
In a decisive 54-8 win, the Tigers moved to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in Region 7-AAA and will take on Greater Atlanta Christian this week for a region championship.
"We have earned the right to play for the region," said Head Coach Sid Maxwell.
The Dawson County defense began with what would be the standard for the night when they held the Indians to a three and out on their first possession.
"They [Lumpkin] had 45 yards of offense the first half. Against the starting defense they had less than 60," said Defensive Coordinator Brent Cox. "They only had about 130 in the whole game."
Once the offense took the field, it was clear the Tigers would have no trouble moving the ball against their rivals.
"I thought overall the offense played hard. I was really pleased that everyone contributed," said Offensive Coordinator Andy LeBlanc. "All three running backs ran hard and the receivers stepped up with key catches through the night."
Running by committee, Payton Myers, Nasser Clark and Taylor Cronan were able to rush for a combined 139 yards. Quarterback Coey Watson added 8 carries for 49 yards.
In the air Watson completed 8-of-17 for 190 yards to six different players- Kolton Brumbelow, Clark, Sevaughn Clark, Austin Young, Luke Martin and Nick Murphy.
"The offensive line did a great job with their assignments and executing the run schemes," LeBlanc said.
With 7:54 in the first quarter, Myers ran in his first of two touchdowns on the night. Cole Dennis kicked the point after to put the Tigers up 7-0.
On the next offensive outing Watson hit Murphy for a 28-yard touchdown. Connor Bearden snuck in on the 2-point conversion to make it 15-0 with 5:05 in the first.
Neither the Indians nor the Tigers would get much out of their next drives, but Watson punted for the Tigers to pin the Indians at their 1-yard line.
Unable to move the ball, the Indians were forced to punt from their own end zone where the punter bobbled the snap and had to fall on the ball for a safety.
With 11:20 in the second quarter, the Tigers led 17-0 and returned the kick to the Lumpkin 40.
Taylor Cronan ran 18 yards for a first down before Nasser Clark would carry it for a touchdown. A quick 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but the Tigers increased the lead to 23-0 with 9:39 until half.
Peyton Allen's kickoff would go to the end zone and the Indians could not get going from their own 20. Lumpkin punted and Drake Samples returned it after a bounce to the Tiger 40.
After another Clark completion, Myers scored again with 7:56 in the second. The point after made it 30-0.
The second half saw lots of Tigers getting reps including backup quarterback Bearden.
The only scoring drive of the night for the Indians was helped by multiple penalties against Dawson.
"I would like to see us cut down on penalties and make sure we are taking good care of the ball," LeBlanc said.
Whatever ray of hope the Indians may have had from the scoring drive was quickly snuffed out when Lumpkin made the fatal error of kicking off to Brumbelow.
He returned the kick for a 99-yard touchdown. It was the third time this season to return a kickoff for a touchdown. The return made the score to 47-8.
The fourth quarter saw Bearden get in the end zone with 3:22 in the game.
Allen's extra point made it 54-8.
Dawson County will take their perfect region record into Friday's showdown against GAC.
The Tigers play at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 at home.