DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – From Norcross to Dawsonville excitement is building for The Game of the Year in Region 7-AAA: No. 8 Dawson County (7-1, 5-0) vs. No. 1-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian (8-1, 5-0) Friday in Tiger Stadium for the championship.
High school football fans know this clash was inevitable. For weeks, the Tigers and Spartans have bludgeoned their opponents into submission, often scoring in the high 40s and 50s. Both have lost only once and those setbacks were in overtime, early-season games.
On paper, they are as evenly matched as two teams can be.
Dawson County has outscored its opponents by an average of 42-17. GAC has won by an average of 39-13. The Tigers have averaged 213 yards rushing and 185 yards passing per game. GAC averages 191 yards rushing and 180 yards passing.
At the all-important quarterback position, the Spartans are led by Stanford commit Davis Mills, who has passed for 1,331 yards and completed 69 percent of his attempts for a quarterback rating (QBR) of 143.4. The Tigers are led by Coey Watson, the 2015 Player of the Year who has passed for 1,440 yards and completed 60 percent of his passes for a QBR of 118.6.
GAC has the region’s best runner in Kyler McMichael, a 6-2, 195-pound blue-chip athlete who has run for 957 yards and 12 touchdowns. McMichael already has scholarship offers from LSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and Michigan State.
Dawson County counters with a stable of solid running backs, led by Watson who has gained 555 yards on the ground, Payton Myers who had 515 yards and nine touchdowns. Taylor Cronan, who has dealt with a nagging shoulder injury all season, still averages 7.7 yards per carry and flashy Nasser Clark, who just transferred from White County.
Defensively, the Tigers have three players averaging double-digit tackles per game. Senior linebacker Luke Martin is scary good with the ability to cover sideline to sideline. Martin averages 15 stops per game, followed by safeties Colin Glover with 12.7 and Jeremy Whalen who averages 10 stops per game and has a team-leading three interceptions.
GACs defense is led by senior safety Davis Markham who averages seven tackles, Devin Thomas (6.3) and linebacker Robby Fowler (5.2).
In a close game, special teams is often the deciding factor. Dawson County has a flat-out game changer in Kolton Brumbelow. The speedy senior, who didn’t play football until this year, has averaged an amazing 83 yards on four kickoff returns, including touchdown runs of 99, 95 and 99 yards.
Both teams have reliable place kickers. Sean Henderson has connected on 31 of 32 extra point attempts and Brooks Buce has converted 10 of 11 and added a 54-yard field goal. The Tigers Cole Dennis has converted 21 of 22 PATs and Payton Allen is perfect on his three extra point attempts.
This is the one everyone has waited for. If you’re planning to go to the game, better get there early. The weather is expected to be perfect, the stands are expected to be filled and Tiger Stadium is expected to be rocking.