The Dawson Co. Tigers (2-3, 1-0 Region 7-3A) defeated the White Co. Warriors (4-1, 0-1 Region 7-3A) 42-35 on Friday night in Dawsonville. Despite the constant rain throughout the game, neither team struggled to make big plays.
Junior Zach Holtzclaw threw six touchdowns in the game for the Tigers. Receivers Dakohta Sonnichsen and Tyler Lane each connected with Holtzclaw twice for touchdowns.
Both teams got off to slow starts to the game. Dawson Co. received the first possession, but the teams traded a pair of 3 and outs before a bad punt by White Co. gave the Tigers excellent starting field position. They capitalized on it quickly as Holtzclaw found Lane for a 34-yard touchdown to give Dawson Co. the first points of the game late in the first quarter. The teams traded 3 and outs again before senior J Ben Haynes found his receiver for a huge 48-yard gain. However, the Warriors couldn’t move the ball into the endzone and faked a field goal attempt that gave the ball back to Dawson Co.
The Tigers reversed the field quickly on a 74-yard run by Isaiah Grindle. Shortly after, Holtzclaw found junior Conley Dyer for a 21-yard touchdown to extend their lead early in the second quarter. White Co. found life on an 80-yard kick return by Cannon to start the drive in the redzone. However, the Warriors again couldn’t finish the drive with a touchdown as junior Braedon Hubbard intercepted a 4th down pass to get the ball back for the Tigers. Junior Riley Turner got the ball right back for the Warriors by intercepting a pass on the next drive. Cannon used the interception to score a 64-yard touchdown to get the Warriors on the board late in the first half. Dawson Co. was able to strike back quickly on a 63-yard touchdown to Sonnichsen less than a minute later. White Co. finally found life in their offense and continued that momentum. Cannon had another big play on a 32-yard reception that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Haynes that made the halftime score 21-14 in favor of the Tigers.
White Co. picked up right where they left off to start the second half. Senior Cooper Turner had a 38-yard reception that set up a 33-yard touchdown run by junior Silas Mulligan. The Warrior defense built off the touchdown as senior Jesse Moose intercepted a pass to get White Co. the ball back. With Haynes going down on the ensuing drive, Stancil stepped in and delivered the Warriors their first lead of the game on a 12-yard touchdown run. Dawson Co. fought back on the next drive, as Holtzclaw got the ball to his playmakers before eventually finding Lane for his second touchdown of the game. The Tigers’ defense stepped up this time as they set their offense up with great field position after a fake punt by White Co. Holtzclaw found Sonnichsen quickly for a 42-yard touchdown to get Dawson Co. the lead back late in the 3rd quarter.
Mulligan started off the next Warriors’ drive with a 28-yard run to swing the momentum back to the Warriors. Stancil built off of the big play with a 19-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 35 early in the fourth quarter. Grindle returned the kickoff to midfield, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on the field position. They attempted a fake punt of their own, but a fumble gave White Co. excellent field position for their next drive. Mulligan powered his way through the Tigers’ defense to get his team down to the goal line. However, Dawson Co. was able to recover a fumble on the 3-yard line to swing the momentum back in their favor. The Tigers struggled to move the ball to begin the drive. Holtzclaw made two huge throws on third down. The first was a 17-yard pass to Sonnichsen to get his team some breathing room. The next was a pass to sophomore Jaden Gibson that turned into a 77-yard touchdown for the Tigers to give them the 42-35 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the game. White Co. reached deep into their back of tricks on the next drive. A double reverse set up a long run by Cannon to get White Co. past midfield. The Tiger defense stepped up one last time. After a sack on third down, Gibson sealed the game with an interception to get Dawson Co. possession of the ball and the victory.
Dawson Co. returns to action in two weeks as they host Gilmer high school at 7:30 p.m.
The Dawson Co. Tigers lost on Friday night to the South Forsyth War Eagles in Dawsonville. The Tigers showed plenty of heart playing against a 7A school. Despite being down three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Dawson Co. fought back and had an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds. Jaden Gibson had an incredible game as he had four receiving touchdowns and made plenty of plays on defense.
The first quarter was filled with big plays for both teams. After a 3 and out from the War Eagles, the Tigers had a strong drive. However, Caleb Bonesteel’s field goal attempt to give Dawson Co. the first points of the game was blocked by South Forsyth. The War Eagles took advantage of the special teams play and scored the first touchdown of the game after a few big plays. A little over a minute later, the Tigers had a big play of their own. Junior Zach Holtzclaw connected with Tyler Lane on a 51-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven. On the ensuing drive, South Forsyth used a 70-yard pass to set up a 20-yard touchdown that allowed them to regain the lead. 14 seconds later, and the game was tied again after Isaiah Grindle returned the kickoff for a touchdown that was capped off by a mean stiff arm. The big plays didn’t stop there, as the War Eagles scored on their first play of the next drive on an 84-yard touchdown as they led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter didn’t start off well for the Tigers. A South Forsyth punt that pinned the Tigers at their own 1-yard line resulted in a safety for the War Eagles to put them up 23-14. The Tiger defense held up strong and forced a punt, this time pinning them at their own 5-yard line. After three plays, the Tigers had a 4th and one from their own 14. They tried to run the ball up the middle, but they weren’t able to convert. However, the defense held up strong once again, holding the War Eagles to a field goal. Attempting to gain all momentum, South Forsyth tried an onside kick that Dawson Co. recovered. The excellent field position helped set up a 10-yard touchdown reception by Gibson. The Tigers trailed 26-21 at halftime.
The Dawson Co. offense struggled again to open the second half. On their first drive, Holtzclaw threw a pick six. After scoring on a 2-point conversion, the War Eagles led 34-21. The Tigers couldn’t get anything going on the following drive, but South Forsyth had another strong drive that finished with a rushing touchdown. After another 2-point conversion, they led 42-21 halfway through the third quarter. Dawson Co. still didn’t give up and had a strong drive and Gibson scored his second touchdown on a 30-yard reception.
The War Eagle offense stayed hot. They scored another touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to take a 49-28 lead. Yet again, Dawson Co. had an answer. After another strong drive, Gibson had an 18-yard touchdown reception to make the score 49-35. The Tigers couldn’t recover the onside kick, but Dakohta Sonnichsen was able to recover a fumble to get his team the ball back. Sophomore Nic Baloga scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to make it a one possession game. South Forsyth was able to cut a lot of time off the clock before they scored their next touchdown. They ran in a 2-yard touchdown with 2:32 remaining in the final quarter. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs the following possession, but they were able to force a quick 3-and-out to get the ball back. They drove down the field quickly and found Gibson for his fourth and final touchdown of the game on a 16-yard reception that made the score 56-49 with 1:14 remaining. The onside kick attempt by Bonesteel had a perfect bounce that allowed Sonnichsen to recover the ball at the Dawson Co. 40-yard line. They marched down the field quickly, and got down to the 2-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. On a pass attempt to the endzone, the ball was intercepted by the War Eagles and returned for a touchdown that sealed the game. The final score was 63-49.
The Tigers play again next Friday as they travel to play at Northview high school in Johns Creek.
The Dawson Co. Tigers lost to the Flowery Branch Falcons 45-42 on Friday night in Dawsonville. The Tigers played well in a back and forth affair, but couldn’t get the job done in the end. They had strong performances from a number of players, including junior quarterback #10 Zach Holtzclaw, who threw for five touchdowns.
The Falcons struck first by scoring a touchdown on their first drive. Dawson Co. struck back quickly on a touchdown reception by #88 Tyler Lane in the back of the endzone. After getting a stop, the Tigers scored again seven seconds into the second quarter on an 11-yard touchdown reception by sophomore Jaden Gibson. Flowery Branch hit a field goal on the ensuing drive to make the score 13-10. Senior Isaiah Grindle extended the Tigers’ lead to 20-10 halfway through the second quarter on a screen pass that turned into a 47-yard touchdown. Flowery Branch finished off the first half strong by scoring two touchdown to take a 24-20 lead into halftime.
Dawson Co. started off the second half strong. After stopping the Falcons on their first drive, Holtzclaw found #26 Tray Cohen for a 28 yard touchdown to give the Tigers the lead. On the next drive, Gibson intercepted a pass to get the ball back for Dawson Co. One play later, Gibson had a 47-yard reception to set the Tigers up with a 1st and goal from the 3-yard line. Grindle ran in the touchdown on the following play. Flowery Branch marched down the field and scored quickly on the next possession. Dawson Co. had a good drive going on the following possession. Senior Dakohta Sonnichsen had a 58-yard touchdown that was called back due to a penalty. The Falcons scored on back to back long drives as they led 45-34 with 6:05 remaining in the game.
Three minutes later, Holtzclaw found #8 Nic Baloga for a 16-yard touchdown, which was Holtzclaw’s 5th of the game. Gibson ran in the 2-point conversion, which made the score 45-42 in favor of Flowery Branch. After a failed onside kick attempt, the Falcons drove the ball down to the goal line. However, the Tigers continued to fight. They stopped Flowery branch on 4th down at the 1-yard line. Dawson Co. was able to make a few positive plays, but couldn’t manage to drive the ball down the field to score, as they fell 45-42.
Dawson Co. plays again at home next Friday as they host South Forsyth at 7:30 p.m.
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.
In Friday nights’ game, Herndon appeared to be everywhere defensively for the Tigers. Early in the second quarter, he blocked an extra point attempt. He had a long reception and converted a 4th down fake punt on the same drive. He also increased his region leading interception total to 7 with a pick in the 4th quarter.
Over the past 3 seasons, the winner of the Dawson County vs GACS game has gone on to win the region.
With both schools sitting at 2-0 in the region, it appeared the stakes of this game were as high as ever.
To start off the game, GACS received the ball for a touchback. The Spartans drove the ball down the field with multiple first downs, eventually scoring on a 9-yard touchdown run to give them a 7-0 lead 3 and a half minutes into the game.
As strong as GACS looked on their first drive, Dawson County looked even stronger. Following 2 short runs, #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen caught a slant pass and weaved through the defense, going 75 yards for the score to tie the game 2 minutes later.
In response to the big play, the Spartans had a similar drive to their first, gaining multiple first downs on their way to a 3-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left in the first quarter to give them a 14-7 lead.
Trying to keep up with the pace of GACS, the Tigers came out aggressive on their next drive. Unfortunately, the first play was a pass that resulted in an interception, giving the Spartans the ball around midfield.
For a 3rd time, GACS methodically drove the ball down the field for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
To get his team some momentum back, #12 Riley Herndon blocked the extra point attempt, to hold the score at 20-7 with 9:38 left in the half.
On the next possessions, both teams got a few first downs, but had to punt.
On the following possession, the Tigers had a 4th down situation in their own territory. Desperately needing some momentum, Herndon ran the ball and converted a fake punt for the first down.
Getting down to another 4th down nearing the end of the half, Dawson County lined up for a long field goal. They faked it again, but this time the Spartans were ready and prevented the conversion.
GACS ran out the clock, heading to halftime with a 20-7 lead.
Dawson County opened up the second half with a few first downs. However, on 4th down, the Tigers faked another punt. This time, Herndon rolled out left and fired the ball to Sonnichsen on the sideline. He hauled in the catch, but didn’t have control, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The defense of the Tigers started rolling, forcing a 3 and out.
On the ensuing possession, Dawson County was able to move the ball down the field, but eventually had to punt after huge losses on 2 sacks.
The Tigers forced another 3 and out to get the ball back for their offense.
On their next drive, #10 Zacchaeus Holtzclaw threw a pass that was tipped and landed in the hands of the Spartans, resulting in his second interception of the game.
Currently leading the region with 6 interceptions, Herndon added to his total with a pick on the next drive.
After moving the ball down the field, the Tigers eventually turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th down.
Trying to seal the game, the Spartans opened their drive with a 30-yard run. However, on a big 3rd down, #30 DJ Mitchell got to the quarterback and brought him down for a big loss and forcing a punt.
With one last chance, Dawson County started off the drive with a big return that had some yards tacked on with a facemask call. Unfortunately, Holtzclaw was sacked on 2nd down on a play that he was injured on. Backup QB #17 Keegan Stover came in to try and keep the momentum going, but eventually turned the ball over on downs, allowing the Spartans to run out the game clock.
Coach Maxwell was very proud of the way his guys played and felt they learned and got better.
Dawson County will return to action in 2 weeks as they host Fannin County.
Considering last year Dawson County came to their field and won 64-0, East Hall had some added motivation for this game.
And they showed it on the first drive.
After 2 false starts, the Spartans launched the ball down the field twice, resulting in a 35-yard reception and a 59-yard touchdown less than 2 minutes into the game. Dawson wasn’t just going to roll over on their field, as they blocked the PAT kick to keep the score at 6-0.
Dawson has multiple return men who have returned kicks for scores this year, and the Spartans obviously didn’t want to allow that, as every kickoff was a squib kick. These resulted in great field position for the Tigers, but prevented any type of long return.
Starting their drive from their own 34, the Tigers methodically drove the ball down the field with a number of short throws and runs. After about 5 minutes, Dawson had to settle for a 26-yard field goal to cut deficit to 3.
The Tigers’ defense got back on track, forcing a 3 and out. They moved the ball down the field with multiple runs and a big first down catch by #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen. Just before the end of the first quarter, #15 Isaiah Grindle pounded in a touchdown from 8 yards out to give Dawson a 10-6 lead.
Already having 3 interceptions on the season, #12 Riley Herndon added to his total on the second play of the next drive to give his offense the ball back.
Unfortunately, his offense couldn’t keep the momentum up as they went 3 and out.
East Hall got back on track in the air with a few short first downs, followed by a long heave to get the Spartans inside the 10-yard line. After a facemask call on the Tigers, East Hall ran in the 1-yard score. Since the PAT was blocked earlier, they tried to get the points back by going for 2, but failed to convert, holding their lead at only 2 points.
After another squib kick, Dawson started their drive at their own 46. Following a 1-yard run, Sonnichsen caught a screen pass and dashed past the defense 53 yards for his first score of the game.
The Vikings got their next drive started off right with a quick first down, but #7 Braedon Hubbard forced their second turnover of the game with an interception.
This time, the Tigers were able to capitalize off of the turnover. After multiple first downs, #21 Shawn Thomas took the direct snap and ran in the 2-yard touchdown to give Dawson the 24-12 lead with about 4 minutes to go.
On third down of their next drive, East Hall felt the pressure from the Dawson defensive line, as their quarterback slipped and fell for a huge loss, forcing a punt that went to the 43-yard line.
Thomas got a quick first down on a screen, but it was Sonnichsen who scored on a 26-yard touchdown reception to give Dawson the 31-12 lead.
Getting the ball back with about 10 seconds left, Dawson elected to allow #99 Caleb Bonesteel to attempt a 67-yard field goal. Attempting a kick 3 yards longer than the NFL record of 64-yards, the confidence in Bonesteel from the coaching staff speaks volumes about his ability.
The kick fell short, giving the Vikings the ball back. They tried to run out the clock, but Herndon didn’t want to end the half without getting one more big hit in to give the Tigers momentum going into the locker room.
Starting the half from the 44, #10 Zacchaeus Holtzclaw delivered a quick screen to Sonnichsen who ran it 56 yards for the touchdown. Unfortunately, it was called back by a personal foul, and the Tigers ended up going 3 and out.
After a first down by East Hall, the Dawson defense came back to life with an 80-yard pick 6 by Herndon, his second takeaway of the game.
The Vikings decided to put in a new quarterback, who fumbled the first snap, but made up for it quickly by delivering a 61-yard strike for a touchdown. East Hall went for 2 and converted on a fade to the back left corner of the endzone that was tipped by the defense but caught by the receiver as he hit the ground.
Although it seemed East Hall gained momentum, the Tigers turned the tables back in their favor, as #6 Jaden Gibson returned the squib quick for a touchdown to make their lead to 45-20 halfway through the third.
On the ensuing possession, the Vikings drove the ball down the field with multiple first downs, only to have the drive ended by a fumble that was recovered by #30 D.J. Mitchell.
However, Dawson went 3 and out quickly, as they seemed to slow the tempo down a little bit.
East Hall on the other hand kept up the pace. After multiple first downs, they ran in the score from 2 yards out. They weren’t able to convert on the 2-point attempt this time, as the score remained 45-26.
Dawson kept the ball on the ground, and this time it paid off. After multiple first down runs by Gibson and Grindle, Grindle took it to the house from 11 yards out to make the score 52-26 in favor of the Tigers.
The Vikings responded quickly on a 68-yard touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 52-34 with less than 7 minutes to go.
The Tigers run game stayed strong, as they were able to run out the clock from this point on with some well-timed first downs to give them the victory.
Dawson County will play host to GAC next Friday as they look to move to 6-1 on the season.
In a game where multiple players made big time plays, one player stood out among the rest. Sonnichsen helped his Tigers to victory with 2 long touchdown plays and a number of first down runs and receptions. He also had another long touchdown reception that was called back by a personal foul penalty.
Coming off a tough home loss to Denmark, Dawson County knew they had to make a statement at Lumpkin.
And they did just that.
The Tigers opened the game with a kick return by #21 Shawn Thomas to the Indians 21-yard line to start them out strong. Dawson’s offense couldn’t get much going, and had to settle for a 36-yard field goal by #99 Caleb Bonesteel to give them the early 3-0 lead.
From this moment on, it was all Tigers.
Following a 3 and out by Lumpkin, the Indians skied a punt that only travelled about 10 yards forward to around the 30. The ball landed right on the sideline, but not out of bounds. One Indian and one Tiger met at the ball, but neither of them touched it. #12 Riley Herndon swooped in, grabbed the ball, spun out, and returned it for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 10-0 lead less than 3 minutes into the game.
On the next possession, #20 Tripp Caine intercepted a pass on third down to get the ball back for the Tigers. After a first down, #10 Zacchaeus Holtzclaw fired a 9-yard touchdown to #8 Hunter Barron to extend their lead by a touchdown less than 2 minutes later.
With the game starting to get out of reach, Lumpkin knew they had to make a move. Getting down to 4th and 1 on their own 30, the Indians decided to go for it. Dawson stopped them in their tracks and forced a loss, simultaneously killing any momentum Lumpkin had.
It took 3 rushes on the following possession for #15 Isaiah Grindle to take it to the house on an 11-yard score to make it a 24-0 game less than 7 minutes into the game.
Following a 3 and out by the Indians, Grindle ran in another touchdown, this time from 34 yards out to extend their lead to 31-0 less than a minute into the second quarter.
Lumpkin again couldn’t get anything going with another 3 and out the next possession. Dawson kept their momentum going with a 40 yard reception by #1 Dakohta Sonnichsen to set up a 23-yard touchdown reception for Grindle, giving him 3 on the game and the Tigers a 38-0 lead heading into the half.
The second half went by fast, as it was a running clock due to the sizeable lead.
Lumpkin started out the second half with another 3 and out. Dawson scored their final touchdown of the game on freshman #17 Keegan Stover’s first career pass attempt. On 4th down, Stover hit #39 Tucker Caine on a 36-yard touchdown to give them a 45-0 lead with 5 minutes left in the third.
Following the teams trading multiple 3 and outs, the Tigers were able to kneel the ball and run out the clock.
The Tigers play host to East Hall next Friday as they look to move to 5-1 on the season.