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Tigers improve to 3-0
Dawson Co. looks to take down Fannin on Friday
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Tiger defender Brody Chester makes a tackle on a Franklin County running back. - photo by Ryan Coker Dawson County News

The last time Dawson County scored more than 50 points was during a 54-12 defeat of Fannin County on Nov. 9, 2012.

Speaking of the Rebels, they will be the Tigers opponent Friday night in Blue Ridge.

Fannin County is coming off its own scoring feast in a 41-35 defeat of Lumpkin County last week.

Coach Jim Pavao's team is currently 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Region 7-AAA.

The Tigers' win over Franklin County puts them in the driver's seat in the region with a 3-0 record.

The win was the third straight for the Tigers, all against region opponents.

Sophomore quarterback Coey Watson had a monster game.

Watson completed 23 of 37 passes for 289 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 116 yards on 26 carries and three scores.

"Coey is a coach's dream," said offensive coordinator Andrew LeBlanc. "He is smart, incredibly competitive and a great leader. Coey accounted for more than 400 yards of offense Friday. He is equally dangerous with his feet and his arm. He just wants to win and will do whatever we ask to help the team.

"For a sophomore, he is very mature and is ahead of the learning curve for a high school quarterback. He is a humble kid and will only get better with experience."

The Tiger offense had 540 yards of total offense Friday, 289 yards passing and 251 yards rushing.

Dawson County's offensive line played great Friday night and pushed the Lion defense back on running plays and protected Watson on passing plays.

Manning the offensive line for the Tigers are: Beau Cooper, AJ Maner, Brise Henson, Cameron Hudson and Tyler Womack.

"We have a great bunch of kids that work hard to do their job. They play for each other and support each other. We have been having success largely due to our kids' attitudes, effort and have cut down on penalties and negative plays. Every position on our offense deserves credit for our recent offensive success," LeBlanc said.

Tiger running back Hunter Mitchell turned in another 100-yard performance against the Lions. Mitchell carried the ball 19 times for 101 yards.

The performance marked his third consecutive 100-yard game.

When Watson threw the ball his two top targets were Austin Young (12 catches-125 yards and a touchdown) and Tucker Maxwell (seven catches 131 yards and two touchdowns).

"Tucker (Maxwell) had a great game. Tucker is an incredible weapon and has a great effect on the offense, even when we don't throw him the ball. The threat of Tucker on the field creates matchup problems for the defense, usually resulting in offensive opportunities in other ways," LeBlanc said. "Tucker is a very gifted athlete. Most defenses don't understand how explosive he really is until they experience it.

"He has an incredibly explosive first two steps and has high end speed that looks effortless to him. He is also very intelligent and understands defense and how to attack defenders to set up his routes."

Blocking downfield by the receivers is a lost art on some football teams, but not for Head Coach Sid Maxwell's Tigers.

"We work every day on blocking. Blocking comes down to angles and effort. You put yourself in position to succeed by taking great angles and after that it comes down to effort," LeBlanc said.

Dawson County jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Lions (3-3; 2-1).

Watson put the first points up on the scoreboard in the first quarter with 4:42 to play on a 3-yard touchdown run behind his offensive line. Mitchell added the two-point conversion and Dawson led 8-0.

At 10:56 of the second quarter Maxwell caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Watson. The two-point conversion failed and Dawson maintained a 14-0 advantage.

Watson added a 5-yard run with 7:56 remaining before halftime.

Watson also added the two-point conversion that put Dawson County ahead 22-0.

The Tigers weren't finished scoring. Austin Young caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Watson at the 4:27 mark. The kick failed by Alan Sanchez and the Tigers were up 28-0.

The Lions finally got on the board with 2:25 left before halftime on a 32-yard run by Eshun Hall. The extra point was no good by Owen Burt and the score was 28-6.

Franklin County added another score on a "Hail Mary" pass from quarterback Tyrique David to Brooklon Wright from 32 yards out.

The two-point conversion failed and the Lions went into halftime trailing 28-12.

During the final two quarters both offenses scored at will, through the air and on the ground.

Sanchez opened the scoring for Dawson County with a 31-yard field goal that extended the Tiger lead to 31-12.

The Lions notched two scores before the quarter was over.

The first came on a 24-yard run by Connor Williams at the 3:44 mark. Bud Woods added the two-point conversion and Franklin trailed 31-20.

On the first play from scrimmage, Watson, on his only mistake of the game, threw an interception.

Lion defender, Jacob Brown returned the pick 40-yards for the touchdown.

The two-point conversion attempt failed and the score was 31-26.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers answered with a drive that culminated with a Peyton Myers score from two yards out. Sanchez added the extra point and built the score to 38-26.

Twenty-three seconds later, Connor Williams added his second touchdown on a 35-yard run with 11:33 remaining.

Burt was good on the extra point. The score stood at 38-33.

Maxwell caught his second touchdown pass of the game on Dawson County's next possession from 15-yards out from Watson.

Watson added the two-point conversion and Dawson County went up 46-33.

The Lions would not go away. Hall broke loose on a 65-yard sprint to the end zone with 7:50 to go in the game. Burt added the extra point and Franklin pulled within one score at 46-40.

Watson sealed the game for the Tigers on a 1-yard run with 3:20 left. Mitchell added the two-point conversion for the final score of 54-40.

"Our focus will be the same it has been since the beginning of the season - work on us. Pay attention to the details and focus on what we can control ourselves," LeBlanc said.

It will be homecoming for Fannin County this week.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.