DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Senior quarterback Davis Mills threw five touchdown passes Friday as Greater Atlanta Christian beat Dawson County 42-7 in Tiger Stadium to claim the Region 7-AAA championship.
The Spartans clearly demonstrated why they are the No. 1-ranked team in the state. With the win comes the top seed in the opening round of the AAA state playoffs next week. Coach Sid Maxwell’s Tigers (7-2, 5-1) finished in runner-up spot in the region and will host Lovett on Friday.
Mills put on a clinic, passing for more than 200 yards in the first half alone. The Stanford commit threw touchdowns passes of 56, 4, 14, 68 and 1 yard.
“Their quarterback is outstanding,” Maxwell said. “He was able to hit his timing routes and his wide receivers were putting on double moves. That’s something you don’t see in high school football.”
The Spartans (9-1, 6-0) went three-and-out on their first possession and the Tigers showed some spark on their opening drive, marching from their own 20 to the GAC 41 before having to punt.
From that point on, however, the Spartans scored almost at will.
On their next series, Mills hit Harrison Sloan with a 56-yard scoring strike. Next, it was Mills hooking up with sophomore Jake Floyd on a 4-yard touchdown that capped a 62-yard scoring march to make it 14-0.
Two minutes later Mills found Sloan again on a 14-yard yard scoring pass and early in the second quarter, GAC had built a three-touchdown margin.
But the back breaker came just before halftime when Mills tossed a middle screen pass to running back Kyler McMichael. A blue-chip athlete who has scholarship offers to LSU, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State, McMichael turned on the jets and streaked 68 yards to give the Spartans a 28-0 halftime advantage.
“We didn’t have an answer for that,” Maxwell said.
McMichael scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run to finish off a six-play 60-yard drive in the third quarter to make it 35-0.
The Spartans never took their foot off the gas and midway through the fourth quarter, Mills hit Sloan again for 66 more yards to the Tigers 1. He completed the drive with a 1-yard touchdown toss to sophomore Jeffrey Blake.
Dawson County’s only score came on a 21-yard run by Payton Myers in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Maxwell told his players he was proud of what they had accomplished this season and that it would have been easy for them to quit trailing 35-0, but they never gave up.
“Now, it’s 0-0 and we start the state playoffs next week against Lovett.”
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.
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County (7-1, 5-0) rolled past Lumpkin County 54 to 8 Friday to set up a high-stakes, winner-take-all showdown against No. 1-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian at Tiger Stadium next Friday to for the Region 7-AAA championship.
If the Tigers were looking ahead to the title game, there was no sign of it on the field. Coach Sid Maxwell’s starters dominated the game from the opening kickoff until the game’s final play. Dawson County scored on four of its first five possessions to take a 30-0 lead at the half.
Maxwell said he had some concerns.
“I’ve coached forever and anybody who says they’re not concerned just doesn’t know what may come the next week.”
Payton Myers, who rushed for two touchdowns, scored the first on a 24-yard run barely four minutes into the game and Cole Dennis added the PAT.
The Tigers got the benefit of a short field on their next possession when Drake Samples returned the Indians punt 24 yards to the Lumpkin County 23. Following an illegal procedure penalty, quarterback Coey Watson hit Nick Murphy on a 28-yard scoring strike. A two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 15-0 lead.
Lumpkin County’s second possession ended in disaster when punter Harrison Spivey fumbled the snap in his own end zone and fell on it for a safety to make it 17-0.
White County transfer Nasser Clark gave the Tigers a 23-0 lead when he scored on a 4-yard run to cap a seven play, 40-yard drive. A 7-yard run by Myers closed out the first half scoring.
While the Tigers offense was on a rampage, their defense was strangling the life out of the Indians who had only two first downs and 51 yards of total offense in the first half.
“Our defense held them pretty good,” Maxwell said. “They had 63 points last week (against Fannin County). Our defensive coach and the staff did a great job holding them to hardly anything.”
By the time Lumpkin County could muster any offense at all, Watson had thrown a 44-yard touchdown pass to Kolton Brumbelow, Dennis had added a 23-yard field goal and the Tigers starters had taken a seat.
Cole White scored the Indians only touchdown with 45 seconds left in the third quarter.
Dawson County answered that score in a heartbeat when speedy Kolton Brumbelow took the ensuing kickoff one blade of grass away from his own goal line and streaked 99 yards. It was his third kick return for a touchdown in four weeks. The other two went for 99 and 95 yards respectively.
“Hats off to him,” Maxwell said. “I had to talk the boy into playing football. He’s never played before this year.”
Reserve quarterback Connor Bearden closed out the scoring for Dawson County on a 1-yard run.
Thanks to Paige Sweany for the great photos!
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.
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – After being held to just 3 points in the first half, Dawson County’s usually high-scoring offense erupted for 35 second-half points en route to a 38-24 win over stubborn East Hall Friday.
But on this cold, windy night, it wasn’t the offense that kept the Tigers unbeaten in Region 7-AAA play, it was a determined and opportunistic Tiger defense, that turned in three goal line stands before intermission. Three times the Vikings drove inside the Tigers 10-yard line and each time the door was slammed shut in their faces.
Sophomore Noah Brock set the tone for defense when he intercepted an Austin Parker pass on the Vikings opening possession. Dawson County couldn’t capitalize, however, and Cole Dennis booted a 25-yard field goal.
The Vikings first serious scoring threat followed a Ryan Glass fumble at the Tigers 30. Six plays later they were on the Dawson County 2, facing fourth-and-goal. Cambren Garrison took the handoff up the middle and Luke Martin, Taylor Swafford, Zack Baloga and Blaine Thomason gang tackled him just inches away from the end zone.
On their next possession, the Vikings drove to the Tigers 7 but failed to cross the goal line. On third-and-goal, Swafford tackled Markese Jackson for a five-yard loss and on fourth down, Parker’s pass fell incomplete.
East Hall missed another scoring opportunity as the final seconds of the first half ticked off. The Vikings had a second-and-goal at the Tigers’ 2 but were hit with an illegal procedure penalty and passed incomplete into the end zone as the first half ended.
East Hall opened the second half with a little trickery on an on sides kick. Dawson County recovered at the Vikings 49 and quickly drove the distance with Payton Myers scoring the first of his two touchdowns on a 9-yard run to give the Tigers a 10-0 lead.
But the Vikings answered in a heartbeat on Parker’s 72-yard scoring strike to Sedron Morse.They went for a two-point conversion and got it on Parker’s pass to Tripp Rider.
Moments later, Parker hooked up with Markese Jackson on an 18-yard touchdown and East Hall took a 16-10 lead.
That seemed to be just the spark the Tigers needed as they ran off 27 unanswered points.
Watson scored on a 4-yard run and Dennis added the extra point for a 17-16 lead with 3:52 left in the third quarter. Myers bolted off right tackle for 37 yards and his second touchdown.
Watson scored again on a 1-yard run and Ryan Glass atoned for his fumble by racing 43-yards for the game’s final touchdown.
Dawson County (6-1, 4-0) returns home Friday to face Lumpkin County while East Hall (2-6, 0-4) will visit North Hall.
Thanks to Paige Sweaney for the game photo!
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Coach Sid Maxwell’s Tigers (2-1) open Region 7-AAA play Friday when they travel to Gainesville to take on the North Hall Trojans (4-1, 1-1).
The Trojans have a solid ground game that features senior running back Kyle Bacus who rushed for 533 yards and scored six touchdowns in the first 3 games. North Hall is not so much of a threat passing. They averaged only 27.3 yards per game in the first three games.
Dawson County features a more balanced offense. 2015 Region 7-AAA Player of the Year Coey Watson can beat opponents with his arm or his legs. Starting running back Taylor Cronan is nursing a shoulder injury and his availability for Friday’s game is uncertain. However, if he can’t play, the running game should not suffer. Payton Myers ran for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns in Friday’s 46-0 rout of White County last week.
North Hall and Dawson County have played one common opponent this year, White County. While the Trojans lost a 24-23 overtime thriller in Cleveland, The Tigers romped to a 46-0 victory in Tiger Stadium.
In their first three games, the Tigers offense has averaged 35.3 points per game while the defense has surrendered just 10.3 points per game.
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County hasn’t had much luck in its short football series against White County. The Tigers and Indians had squared off six times before Friday night and White County won five of those games. But luck didn’t enter the picture Friday as the Tigers put a convincing 46-0 whipping on the Indians in the Tigers homecoming game.
The offense worked methodically behind an all senior offensive line of Wyatt McMahon, Matt Stewart, Brice Henson, Tyler Womak and Keelan Kraus, scoring on its first three possessions.
Quarterback Coey Watson shredded the Warriors secondary, passing for more than 200 yards, including a 41-yard scoring strike to Austin Young in the third quarter. He also ran for a pair of touchdowns.
Meanwhile the Tigers showed they have a stable of talented running backs. Payton Myers, subbing for injured running back Taylor Cronan, ran for over 100 yards and two touchdowns to spark the ground game. When Dawson County pulled the starters in the third quarter, senior Dennis King ripped off runs of 16 and 20 yards before scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
On their first possession, the Tigers drove 80 yards in 11 plays with Myers getting the TD on a 5-yard run.
Defensive back Chance Armstrong set up the next score when he intercepted a pass at the Tigers 40 and returned it to the Warriors 42. Four plays later, Watson scored on a 2-yard run ran in with the 2-point conversion for a 15-0 lead.
The Tigers next scoring drive covered 70 yards in nine plays with Myers scoring his second touchdown on a 5-yard run and the route was on. Cole Dennis wrapped up the first half scoring by kicking a 17-yard field goal that gave Dawson County a 25-0 lead.
“We were solid all the way around tonight. We moved the ball and kept on attacking and just never took our foot off the gas.”
After White County went three and out on its first second-half possession, The Tigers cranked up another long scoring drive, moving 86 yards in 16 plays. Watson capped the drive with a 1-yard run.
White County ripped off a couple first downs on its next possession before Nate Umberger intercepted a pass from Kaleb Crane and returned it 39 yards to the Indians 41.
Watson then connected with Young on a 41-yard scoring strike that gave the Tigers a 39-0 lead with 4:06 left in the third quarter. At that point, Coach Sid Maxwell sent in his talented young reserves for mop up duty.
Maxwell said he was proud of his team’s effort. “They played their hearts out. There is no quit in these young men.”
The win marked the final non-region game of the season for Dawson County. The Tigers (2-1) travel to Gainesville next week to take on the North Hall Trojans in a Region 7-AAA game. White County (1-4) returns home to face Blessed Trinity.