After going into double overtime Friday night, the Dawson County Tigers suffered a heartbreaking loss in Oakwood to the West Hall Spartans.
The Tigers fell short on their attempt to get in the end zone on back-to-back passes from Connor Bearden, who was in for an injured Coey Watson, to Austin Young. Both passes fell incomplete.
West Hall's Tyrese Osbourne picked up a touchdown on the ground at the start of the second OT.
"It was one of the most valiant efforts I have ever coached in my 22 years," said Head Coach Sid Maxwell of the effort on Sept. 16.
In a night plagued by injuries and turnovers, the Tigers were able to stay in the game all the way to double overtime.
"I just didn't think we had any more. That's the reason we went for a touchdown. We didn't have energy left. We were spent. Probably would have went for 2 if we had scored again," he said about the second overtime effort.
"The things that could have been reasons to not play hard and get down, I thought that they gave themselves an opportunity to win the football game," Maxwell said.
Watson injured his arm in the first quarter and Bearden had to take over throwing duties. Watson threw 3 for 5 for 32 yards before the injury.
Watson, however, stayed in the game as much as possible, primarily to run the ball.
"This was the first time putting Coey at running back and then putting Luke [Martin] at running back when we shifted Coey back to QB," said Andy LeBlanc, offensive coordinator. "They both are tremendous team players that are willing to do whatever it takes to win."
Martin had five solo tackles and 16 assists on defense. Colin Glover had three solos and 12 assists.
Most of Dawson County's success came on the ground early.
Running back Taylor Cronan was effective in the run game before leaving in the first half with a separated shoulder. He had 9 carries for 72 yards. He did not return.
During their second possession of the game, Dawson County was able to move the ball on a completed pass to Young for 6 yards and a first down carry by Cronan. On the following play, Watson flipped the ball out to Cronan who had a run to the 25-yard line.
Another Watson-to-Young completion garnered a first down and Payton Myers carried the ball to the 6-yard line before Cronan got in the end zone.
Ryan Glass got the carry for the 2-point conversion for the Tigers to get out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the Spartans' following possession they were able to move up the field on a Jacob Satterfield quarterback keeper and an Osbourne catch on a screen pass to inside the 1-yard line.
Satterfield kept it for the touchdown and the Spartans added the point after.
After the Tigers were unable to score on the next possession, they punted it away and West Hall fumbled. The Tigers recovered at the 31.
Dawson again scored on the ground after carries by Watson, Cronan and Myers at the start of the second quarter. The Tigers were up 15-7 after the extra point.
West Hall answered with a drive starting from their own 22-yard line. Satterfield had multiple carries and completed passes to Justin Hearn after a sack by Jakob Scoggins on the drive.
The Spartans missed the point after the touchdown to make it 15-13.
Bearden entered the game before the half and West Hall's Ashun Favorite was able to pick him off and return it for 6 on his second snap.
A number of other Tigers were injured including Scoggins and Hunter LeBaron. Kicker Peyton Allen and Taylor Swafford weren't able to play due to injuries prior to Friday.
"You have to have the next one in, the next one ready to play," Maxwell said. "No matter what hand you are dealt, you have got to find a way to have success."
Watson returned to the game after the kick off and Dawson fumbled it at its own 25.
The Spartans were able to pick up a field goal before heading to half up 20-15.
Dawson County began the second half similar to how they ended the first, with a turnover.
"We cannot expect to be a successful offense when we commit turnovers like we did Friday," LeBlanc said. "We put our defense in some bad situations because of them."
Dawson fumbled on the first play after the kickoff and the Spartans got the ball back at the 25.
The Tiger defense, however, was able to get a stop when West Hall got a holding penalty and a Wyatt McMahon tackle on a QB keep backed the Spartans up. Carson Weatherford got the next stop on Satterfield before the Spartans went for it on a fourth-and-25.
In the fourth quarter, Dawson County got the ball back on the 44-yard line and a banged up and fired up Watson took the field.
He picked up back-to-back first downs on keepers. Driving, the Tigers would go for it on fourth-and-one and Watson again picked up the first.
After a timeout with third-and-four from the 5, Watson got in the end zone. The Tigers went for 2 and Watson seemed unstoppable on the run, getting in the end zone again.
West Hall got a field goal with under two minutes to play and the game went to overtime.
Both defenses held in the first overtime with a question as to whether or not Dawson got a hand on the ball on West Hall's field goal attempt.
"This week will be a very tough football game as beat up as we are," Maxwell said.
"Coey will most likely miss some time to get completely healthy," said LeBlanc. "He is such a competitor that we want to make sure that he is completely healed up and ready before he goes out on the football field."
"Their offensive line plays low and this option team is effective," said Defensive Coordinator Brent Cox. "We must be disciplined on our reads and play fast."
Dawson County moves to 1-1 and faces White County at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 23 for their homecoming game.