With rainy weather throughout the day, it wasn’t ideal conditions for a first round game of the state playoffs. The Tigers, however, were not fazed.
Despite the poor weather, Dawson County was focused on the task at hand, and it showed in their play.
The Tigers received the ball to open the game, but had to punt quickly after a holding call on first down.
Westminster had good field position to start their drive. However, #12 Riley Herndon intercepted the ball on third down and returned it to the opposite side of the field.
After a couple of first downs, the Tigers scored the first points of the game on a 32-yard field goal by #99 Caleb Bonesteel.
The Wildcats next drive was a long one. They got multiple first downs on both passes and rushes. They eventually settled for a 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 nearing the end of the first.
The teams traded 3 and outs on their next drives. On their next drive, the Tigers got multiple first downs to advance the ball. This included a pass to #8 Hunter Barron and a run by #10 Zach Holtzclaw. Unfortunately, Holtzclaw threw an interception that was returned past midfield.
After the Wildcats converted on 4th down, #20 Tripp Caine came up big for the Tigers with an interception to give his team the ball back.
Dawson County moved the ball down the field, but the Wildcat defense forced a 4th down. On the punt attempt, Riley Herndon faked it and threw the ball to #6 Jaden Gibson for a first down. However, it was called back on a flag for an ineligible receiver down field.
Westminster started from the 25, but fumbled the ball on a pitch on the first play. #2 Max Moon recovered it for the Tigers and took it down to the goal line. #15 Isaiah Grindle punched in the touchdown from 2 yards out, allowing the Tigers to take a 10-3 lead into the half.
The Wildcats opened the half with a 3 and out. On the punt, the punter bobbled the snap, resulting in a bad punt that gave the Tigers great field position.
Dawson County had to settle for a 39 yard field goal after a quick 3 and out.
Westminster drove the ball down the field on multiple first downs, but had to settle for a 51 yard field goal. The Wildcats faked the attempt, but they were quickly stopped, giving Dawson County the ball back.
The teams traded 3 and outs again nearing the end of the 3rd quarter. The Tigers’ drive started with a long run by Grindle to end the third. #21 Shawn Thomas opened the final quarter with a first down run. He followed it up with a 24 yard touchdown run to give his team a 20-3 lead early in the 4th.
After another Westminster 3 and out, Shawn Thomas lead the Dawson County drive with multiple first down runs. He also ran in a 5 yard touchdown to expand the Tiger lead to 27-3 with less than 5 minutes in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Caine got his second interception of the game. This sealed the Tigers’ spot in the second round of the playoffs.
Playing on the road in the state playoffs, Dawson County needed their players to step up and make big plays. Tripp Caine did just that. With the game tied at 3, Caine picked the ball off to prevent the score and give his team good field position. He also had another interception late in the 4th quarter to seal the win. He deflected another pass and had multiple tackles to help lead his team to victory.
If you didn’t know going into the game that there was extra motivation for the teams, you could certainly feel it when you walked in.
On North Hall’s senior night, they played host to Dawson County. The winner would claim the 2-seed for the region in the state tournament and get to host their first playoff game.
To open the game, #21 Shawn Thomas returned the ball for the Tigers to midfield. After multiple first down runs, #10 Zach Holtzclaw fired a 28 yard touchdown to #12 Riley Herndon, giving Dawson the early 7-0 lead.
The Trojans responded by marching the ball down the field quickly. They scored on a 42 yard touchdown run to tie the game less than 4 minutes in.
Holtzclaw kept their offense moving by hitting #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen for a 43 yard pass. He followed that by finding Sonnichsen again for a 19 yard touchdown to regain the lead.
North Hall kept the offense moving with a couple first downs, but eventually had to punt and downed the ball at the 2 yard line.
The Tigers got a first down, but couldn’t get much more and had to punt themselves. The defense held strong and forced a 3 and out, but the punt was bobbled after the fair catch. The Trojans recovered the ball with the great field position.
Dawson’s defense held the Trojans in check by forcing another 3 and out, thanks to a big tackle for loss by Herndon. Herndon wasn’t done as he blocked North Hall’s field goal attempt. However, the Trojans were able to down the ball at the 1 yard line, giving the Tigers poor field position yet again.
Unfortunately, Dawson wasn’t able to move the ball this time, resulting in a safety. The defense forced a quick 3 and out, preventing North Hall from capitalizing on the turnover.
On the ensuing possession, Holtzclaw hit Sonnichsen with a 39 yard pass to cross midfield. The victory was short lived, however, as Holtzclaw’s next pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Halfway through the second quarter, North Hall led 16-14.
The Trojans’ defense kept the momentum going by sacking Holtzclaw for a big loss. The Tigers were able to turn the momentum back in their favor after Thomas caught a screen pass and ran 34 yards for a first down. A few first down passes later, Sonnichsen ran in a 5 yard touchdown to get the lead back.
After a first down, the aggressive Trojans attempted to convert on 4th and short. The Dawson County defense stifled them, forcing a loss and getting the ball back.
With three false starts to open the drive, the Tigers couldn’t get the ball moving and punted the ball to the 32. The very next play, North Hall ran the ball 68 yards for the touchdown, making it a 23-21 game with less than a minute left. Dawson County kneeled the clock out and took the small deficit into the half.
North Hall opened the half aggressively with multiple first down runs, eventually scoring on a 41 yard rush less than 4 minutes into the half.
The Tigers responded with multiple first down passes. When they got to a 4th down, they faked the punt, and Herndon hit Sonnichsen for the first down. Hotlzclaw found Sonnichsen for a 23 yard pass that was nearly intercepted on the next play. After a first down run by Thomas, the Trojans defense stepped up in a big way. They prevented a touchdown for 3 straight plays at the goal line. Being forced to kick a 2 yard field goal, the Tigers faked it again. This time, Herndon’s pass was intercepted at the 1 yard line.
Dawson County couldn’t return the favor and force a safety. After a 16 yard pass to get away from the goal line, the Trojans ended the third quarter with another first down run. The first play of the 4th quarter was a 40 yard touchdown pass to make the score 37-21 in favor of North Hall.
The Tigers weren’t going to give up easily. #15 Isaiah Grindle opened the drive with a 30 yard run. Holtzclaw found receivers #8 Hunter Barron and #6 Jaden Gibson on back to back plays for first downs. Grindle eventually ran it in from 4 yards out, and Sonnichsen ran in the 2 point conversion to make it a 1 possession game.
The Trojans were able to waste a lot of time on their next possession. They converted consecutive 3rd downs on a 34 yard pass and a 16 yard run. They also got first downs from a face mask and another solid run. By the time they kicked the 29 yard field goal, there was only 2:07 left in the game. The possession took 8 minutes and 20 seconds and gave North Hall a 2 possession lead.
North Hall attempted to recover the short kickoff, but the Tigers were able to maintain possession after the ball was fumbled around a few times.
The next play, Holtzclaw hit Sonnichsen for a 70 yard touchdown and ran in the 2 point conversion himself to make the score 40-37 with 1:47 left.
On the biggest play of the game, the Tigers attempted an onside kick. The ball bounced off the hands of the North Hall hands team and landed in a pile of players. Unfortunately, the Trojans were quick to bounce on it and recovered the onside kick.
With the game in their hands, the Trojans needed a first down. That came on a 35 yard run on second down. They eventually ran out the clock and secured the 40-37 win. The Trojans will have home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
In the biggest game of the year, Sonnichsen showed up big for the Dawson County Tigers. He had 2 receiving touchdowns, including a 70 yard catch late in the 4th, and a rushing touchdown. He also had a 2 point conversion and multiple other first down receptions, which included a big 4th down catch on the sideline and a 43 yard catch. All in all, Sonnichsen totaled up around 150 receiving yards on the day. Sonnichsen will be a big name to watch out for in the playoffs.
Coming off a huge win last week over Fannin County, the Dawson County Tigers were looking to maintain their momentum heading to the playoffs.
Playing on the road, they did just that.
Cherokee Bluff received the ball to start the game. The Dawson County defense forced a punt that was caught by #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen for a fair catch. The very next play, Sonnichsen caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from #10 Zach Holtzclaw.
The bears were able to move the ball down the field due to multiple penalties by the Tigers. However, they only managed to get a field goal to make the game 7-3 with 5 minutes remaining in the first.
#21 Shawn Thomas returned the kickoff to the 46 yard line to give Dawson County great field position. They capitalized by throwing a 30 yard pass to Sonnichsen before Holtzclaw kept it himself to run in the touchdown from 12 yards out.
On third down of the following possession, #30 D.J. Mitchell had a huge sack to force a punt that went to midfield. Thomas started the drive off with a first down run. Unfortunately, they had to settle for 3 points on a 46 yard field goal from #99 Caleb Bonesteel.
Cherokee Bluff started their next drive from the 6 yard line after a mishap from the return team. After not being able to move the ball, they had to punt quickly. The bears’ punt was a short one to the 35 yard line that was returned 10 yards by Thomas to the 25.
The next play, Holtzclaw fired a 25 yard touchdown strike to #6 Jaden Gibson to make the score 24-3 early in the second.
Cherokee Bluff threw an interception on third down of the next drive, but it was reversed due to a pass interference call. The Tigers were able to force a punt that allowed them to start their next drive from their own 10.
Thomas started the drive with a first down run and followed that with a 79 yard touchdown run.
The teams traded 3 and outs on their next 2 drives to end the first half.
Thomas started off the second half by returning the kickoff to the 30 yard line. He followed that up with a 37 yard run and a 13 yard reception. Sonnichsen ended the drive with a 29 yard touchdown reception to give them a 38-3 lead.
The bears were able to get some momentum with a long return. They were also able to convert on a 4th down, but failed to convert on another 4th down.
Thomas stayed hot with a 30 yard run and another first down run to start the drive. Sonnichsen also had a first down reception before Holtzclaw ran in another score after bobbling the snap.
After another three and out by the bears, #31 Nic Baloga had a first down run, a 61 yard run, and finally punched it in for the touchdown.
Cherokee Bluff got their only touchdown of the game on the back of multiple long runs at the end of the game.
Dawson County ran out the clock to take the 52-9 victory.
The Tigers play next week at North Hall in their final game of the regular season.
Sonnichsen helped lead his Dawson County Tigers to a 52-9 victory over Cherokee Bluff. He had a 62 yard touchdown reception on their first offensive play. He also had a 29 yard touchdown reception as well as multiple other first down receptions. He also had a few runs and played defense.
In a dominant showing by the Dawson County Tigers, freshman wide receiver Jaden Gibson shined with 2 long receiving touchdowns. Gibson had a 50 yard touchdown reception to give them the early lead. He also had a 46 yard touchdown reception to give them a 28-7 lead in the second quarter. Gibson had well over 100 receiving yards, had a short run, and had a good kick return to put the offense in good position to start the second half. Jaden Gibson is the Dawson County Player of the Week!
In a battle of 5-2 teams, the matchup between Dawson County and Fannin County was set up to be a good one. On paper, these were two evenly matched teams.
However, with a playoff birth on the line, Dawson County rose to the occasion.
Fannin received the ball to start the game, but couldn’t get much going, resulting in a quick 3 and out.
Despite a major injury against GAC 2 weeks ago, #10 Zach Holtzclaw was able to make start tonight, and he looked sharp.
Holtzclaw lead his offense down the field throwing multiple first down passes, including a long pass to Player of the Week #6 Jaden Gibson on third and long. On 4th and goal from the 2 yard line, Hotlzclaw kept the ball and ran in a touchdown to give the Tigers the early lead.
The next possession was the only lapse for the Tigers defense. On second down, the Rebels running back bounced off of the offensive line to the outside, running the ball 78 yards down to the 1 yard line. The next play, another Fannin running back pounded it in to tie the game about a minute later.
The Tigers weren’t fazed by the long score, responding with their own long touchdown. Holtzclaw fired a 50 yard touchdown to Gibson to regain the lead a minute later.
Dawson County’s defense got back on track the next possession, forcing a 3 and out by the Rebels.
After the punt was returned to midfield, Holtzclaw launched a 40 yard pass to #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen. This set up a 7 yard touchdown run by #21 Shawn Thomas, making the score 21-7 late in the first quarter.
Fannin County’s offense was able to get the ball moving down the field, including a 4th down conversion. However, after a big sack on 3rd down, Dawson County got a stop on 4th down to get the ball back in their own territory.
Holtzclaw kept his offense firing on all cylinders, delivering a long pass to #8 Hunter Barron followed by a 46 yard touchdown pass to Gibson, his second of the night.
The Tigers’ defense stifled the Rebels again, forcing another 3 and out.
On the following drive, Holtzclaw threw a quick screen to Shawn Thomas for a first down. The next play, #15 Isaiah Grindle ran 51 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 35-7 late in the second quarter.
Fannin moved the ball down the field well on the next possession, getting into Dawson territory. However, they weren’t able to capitalize, as they failed to convert on 4th down again, ending the half.
Dawson County started the second half on a good note, with a return to midfield by Gibson. Holtzclaw kept the momentum going by throwing for 2 first downs before delivering a 21 yard touchdown pass to Barron.
After a first down by Fannin, the Tigers killed the momentum of the Rebels with a big sack on third down, forcing a punt to give the ball back to Dawson.
#12 Riley Herndon started the drive with a 57 yard reception on a pass from Holtzclaw. Dakohta Sonnichsen followed that up with a 10 yard touchdown reception, to give Dawson a 48-7 lead with 6 minutes left in the third, after #99 Caleb Bonesteel had a rare miss on an extra point.
After another 3 and out by Fannin, the Tigers drove the ball down the field to set up a 33 yard field goal by Bonesteel to extend the lead to 51-7.
With a running clock, the game finished out quickly after possessions by both teams.
Dawson County travels to play at Cherokee Bluff next Friday, looking to make their record 7-2.