We’ve been talking about it all summer. I’ve covered more camps than I can count. Young athletes have been out as early as January lifting and preparing for it. Finally on Wednesday I felt it.
Football season is coming.
Wednesday morning bright and early found me on the football field of Fannin County High School covering the last day of their youth football camp. Now as I said a few sentences earlier I’ve been out all summer covering football camps, but this was the first time it really clicked with me that we are only a few weeks away. And I won’t lie, a lot of it had to do with the weather.
There was a slight breeze and I dare to say chill on Wednesday that I hadn’t felt all summer. Granted it was early in the morning and I’m so used to summer heat that even the slightest temperature drop can make me reach for my jacket. But this time, surrounded by young athletes who are the future of their program, it all started to set in.
It’s hard to imagine Friday Night Lights when it’s 90 degrees in Georgia in the middle of July. When I think of football I think of all the late Friday afternoons when I was in high school and the trees were ablaze with the bright orange and reds of fall. I think of the UGA games I’ve gone to where it’s been so cold part of the reason I was standing was not so much to cheer than to try and keep warm.
I will admit, football season has kind of snuck up on me this year. Earlier in the summer, Team FYN Sports was in baseball mode covering the local youth tournaments. I was in baseball mode keeping up with the Braves. But this is the South, and not just the South but SEC stronghold too. So of course even though baseball comes to the forefront, football stays simmering on the back burner at all times. That’s another reason why when I felt that cooler air on Wednesday, I was so easily able to slip back into football mode.
Local high schools start back as early as the week after next, with scrimmages coming the week after and then regular season the week after that. It’s crazy to think how time flies, and for teams that have been out practicing all summer, they realize that this is where the rubber meets the road.
I remember the first story I did for Team FYN Sports involving football was earlier this summer when Dawson County scrimmaged Pickens in a spring game. It took me a moment to realize when I got to the Dawson County field to realize that were weren’t in August, and this being in May we still had another three full months to go. But you couldn’t have told that to either of the two sides that night.
The Dawson County mommas circled up for pre-game prayer, and lined up to form a tunnel for their sons to run through onto the field. Both home and away stands had a decent amount of fans to fill them. Both schools even brought their marching bands, and Pickens brought their cheerleaders. This energy is what I try to convey to everyone when I say that sports, and especially football, create a community rivaled by few other events.
Each time I’ve gone to a camp, or scrimmage, or even just a practice in this community, I’ve seldom been the only one there who is not a part of the team. Parents will come by to see their sons, or even just community members will drop by to get a look at the team before they run out for the first game. There’s something else special about following a team from the ground up, a season from the beginning to end. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way, and it makes my job all the much more enjoyable.
Over the last couple of weeks BKP and I have been going around North Georgia and interviewing coaches from all of the teams we cover. While last week I focused on the coaches and all of the effort that they have been putting in, it’s no overstatement to say that these players have been putting in their fair share too.
And they all seem ready. They’ve all been lifting and getting stronger since the beginning of the year. They’ve been out running drills and working for positions since the weather was warm enough. Now they’re breaking out the pads, helmets and fine tuning plays until it’s time for that first kick-off.
Football season is coming, and from the locker room to the press box, I think we’re all ready.
Sid Maxwell is going into his fourth season as head coach for the Dawson County Tigers, and in those four years he has helped to create a successful program that reaches beyond the high school team and into the feeder programs. His philosophy? Three words: trust, care and commitment.
“It’s just a system that young men know that whatever we do we’re going to try to make them a better athlete,” said Coach Maxwell. “They also know I’m never gonna ask them to do anything that doesn’t have a purpose.”
The Tigers went 10-2 in their season last year, but Coach Maxwell knows how the keep the guys humble. Especially for seniors who may be stepping up for their final season.
“Some people…you put that crown on their head and they feel like they’re better than everyone else because you made them a leader. When they raise their head up, what happens to their crown? It falls off.” said Coach Maxwell. “So the guys we anoint going into this season are going to be the ones that keep the crown on their head.”
Dawson County Tigers fans and high school football fans alike can watch the full interview below!
With the regular season only weeks away, high school teams in the North Georgia area know that they have to take every chance they can to get better. That’s exactly what the Dawson County Tigers and several other teams from the North Georgia/metro-Atlanta area are doing this week at the North Forsyth High School contact camp.
The camp started this morning at 9 a.m. and lasted until around noon. Each team had a chance to play in a scrimmage game twice. Teams will return again tomorrow at the same time.
The scrimmage games were played in a format that allowed seven to eight minutes of possession time for each team. After time ran out the teams would change possession. Plays were stopped at first contact with the ball carrier.
The Tigers scrimmaged Southwest DeKalb for the first game. This game was played at a slower pace so the Tigers could rotate players. Junior Varsity and Varsity teams were present for the Tigers, so the rotation schedule allowed playing time for both teams.
Dawson County scrimmaged Collins Hill in the second game. Although this game was played in the same format as the first, it was played at a faster pace to focus on moving the ball and gaining yardage. Each game lasted an hour and a half.
“We’ve got a very young squad, a lot of these guys are just trying to get their feet wet before we officially kick off next week,” said Sid Maxwell, head coach for the Tigers. “[We’re] Just trying to get another chance to come out and play somebody.”
Maxwell said that this camp is the third contact camp for the Tigers this summer, and they are gearing up for the start of their mandatory practices next week.
Watch the full video interview with Coach Maxwell below, and check out pictures from the camp on Team FYN Sports Facebook page!
The final game of the three game series between the Trojans of North Hall and the Tigers of Dawson was played at North Hall on Friday with the Tigers falling short in a 5 inning mercy rule game. The Trojans would take the sweep of the series.
The Trojan bats struck first in the bottom of the first with 3 runs and added 9 in the 2nd, 2 in the third and 4 in the fifth to take the GHSA mercy rule win in 5 innings over the Tigers of Dawson. For the Tigers, the offense wouldn’t give it and Dawson battled for 7 runs in the third to make it a 12- 7 game heading in to the bottom of the inning. North hall answered with 2 of their own to extend their lead to a 7 run margin. The tigers added 1 in the fifth to end their scoring on the day. To reach the 10 run requirement for the mercy rule, the Trojans added 4 in the bottom of the fifth to take the game and the series.
Dawson sent four Tigers to the mound on the day throwing 133 total pitches with 69 being strikes. Thirteen of the eighteen runs for the Trojans were earned and they had eight walks. The Tiger fielders committed 2 errors on the day but overall played a very solid game.
The Tigers regular season came to a close on Friday and the coaching staff are preparing to right the ship from a disappointing 10-17 season.
The Tigers of Dawson County hosted the Trojans of North Hall in Game 2 of the three game region series on Wednesday at the home of the Tigers. Dawson put one run up on the board on six hits in the game with 9 strikeouts. The Trojan hurler went all seven getting the complete game victory in a dominating performance.
The Tiger were held scoreless until the third. Palmer Sapp, 3-4 on the day, stepped to the plate with 2 outs and down by six to the Trojans. On a 1 ball and no strike count, Sapp took the North hall pithcer deep over the center field fence for a solo homerun for the only run in the game for Dawson. Only three other Tigers would reach base by hit. Hudson Sapp(1-2), Nathan Sorrells(1-3) and Hunter Barron added one hit each for Dawson.
Defensively for the Tigers, Palmer Sapp, Nathan Sorrells and Cameron Moore to the hill and in 7 innings the three combined for 16 hits, 10 runs all earned, 4 walks and had 8 strikeouts. Dawson played solid defense behind their hurlers committing only 1 error on the day. In the 10-1 win for the region champion Trojans, 6 runs in the third, 1 in the fourth, 2 in the sixth and 1 in the seventh. In the field, the Trojans committed no errors.
Next up for the Tigers will be a trip to North Hall on Friday to face the Trojans in game three of the series and last game of the regular season. Game time is set for 5:55 P.M.
The Dawson Tigers traveled to the northern side of Hall County on Monday to hit the diamond against a really good North Hall Trojan Baseball team. The Trojans, sitting atop the region and needing a victory to help clinch the region title, would not give up. The Tigers gave all they had but fell short at the hands of last inning rally by North Hall.
Dawson struck first putting a run on the board by way of a lead off walk by Hudson Sapp and was forced out at second base on a fielders choice. Brother and teammate Palmer Sapp reached on the fielders choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch , the to third on a sacrifice by Connor Bearden. Sapp scored on a passed ball by the Trojan catcher giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Dawson added single runs in the second and third innings as the Trojans put three of there on up in the bottom half of the second and one in the third to carry a 4-3 lead in to the top of the fourth inning. The bats for both teams were silent in the fifth setting up and exciting finish for the fans that gathered. In the top half of the sixth, Dawson struck for three runs on hits by Browning, Bo Lewis with a walk by T.J. Allen. The Trojans helped with the Tiger runs committing a couple of errors in the inning. The Tigers carried a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth and yet the Trojans didn’t lay down. North hall tied the score at six each with two doubles and a single in the inning. Going quietly in the top of the seventh, the Tigers and their fans were not ready for what was to happen next. With the opportunity to steal a victory, the Trojans needed one run and that they would get. Two singles and a sacrifice fly sealed the win in walk off fashion giving the Trojans the last inning win by a score of 7-6.
Next up for the Tigers of Dawson Co. will be at home as they face these same Trojans in game two of the three game series on Thursday.
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Highly-motivated Lumpkin County is next up for Coach Sid Maxwell’s Dawson County Tigers and the Indians would like nothing better than to swing into Tiger Stadium Friday and upset the state’s No. 10-ranked Class AAA team.
Lumpkin County (4-4, 2-2) is still hoping to earn the second seed in the Region 7-AAA playoffs. They could achieve that with a win Friday should the Tigers lose to No. 1-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian next week.
But that is a very big mountain to climb. The Tigers (7-1, 4-0) are unbeaten at home this year and currently riding a five-game win streak. Since an early-season double overtime loss to West Hall, no has come within 14 points of beating Dawson County.
Coach Shane Williamson’s Indians feature a ground-and-pound offense led by a trio of good runners who average better than 6 yards per carry. Senior fullback Zach Matthews is the leading rusher with 1,152 yards and an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Running back Cole White is next, having rushed for 627 yards and an average of 7.5 yards per carry, followed by quarterback Chandler Woodham with 580 yards rushing and an average of 6.1 yards per carry.
But Lumpkin County appears to pass out of necessity. Woodham has a completion average of just 34.9 and has only passed for an average of 28.4 yards per game.
Dawson County should be a highly motivated bunch also. A victory sends the Tigers into a much-anticipated showdown with GAC next week for the Region 7-AAA championship in Tiger Stadium. And these Tigers have a lot of weapons on offense, defense and special teams.
Quarterback Coey Watson has amassed 1,756 yards in total offense and accounted for 24 touchdowns. Payton Myers has rushed for 452 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
The wide receivers are dangerous Austin Young, who averages 18.9 yards on 36 receptions and has scored seven touchdowns. Speedy Nick Murphy averages 16.2 yards per catch and has scored four touchdowns.
The Tigers defense is one of the region’s best. At East Hall last week, they turned in three goal line stands, holding the Vikings scoreless on three trips inside the 10-yard line. Linebacker Luke Martin is the ring leader. He has 121 total tackles for an average of 17.3 per game including 16 tackles for a loss. Defensive back Colin Glover averages 12.7 tackles per game and Jeremy Whalen averages 10.
Dawson County’s opponents are learning to kick the ball away from Kolton Brumbelow who has scored on kickoff returns of 95 and 99 yards.
Defeating Dawson County in Tiger Stadium may be too formidable a task for the Indians.