The coldest person in Oakwood on Friday night might have been Dawson County Coach Jeff Lee after his players doused him with a very cold Gatorade bucket.
The visiting Tigers (6-4, 4-3 Region 7-AAA) cruised to a 42-13 victory over the homestanding West Hall Spartans (3-6, 2-5). And for the first time since 2004, Dawson County will be in the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAA.
With the victory, Dawson County travels to take on Region 6-AAA’s No. 1 seed, St Pius.
“It’s been eight years since we went.” Lee said. “That was one of our goals with this team.”
The tone for the night was set on the opening kickoff as the Tigers went 76 yards to the Spartans’ 19-yard line, giving their offense great field position for their first drive.
Seven plays later, Tiger running back Zack Martin scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night, this one from 1 yard out on third down.
After West Hall went three-and-out on its first possession, Tiger quarterback Tyler Dominy connected with Bruce Clark on a perfectly placed fade pass in the corner of the end zone to extend the Tiger lead to 14-0.
Dominy then capped an 11-play drive with a screen pass to Cody Lamar. On third down from the 10, Dominy dropped back, waited for Lamar to come open coming out of the backfield and found him in the middle of the field. Lamar did the rest, making the score 21-0 with 9:07 left before halftime.
West Hall’s Xavier Johnson made sure his team found the end zone on the ensuing kickoff. After fielding the ball at his own 19, he weaved, juked and sprinted his way for a touchdown. The electrifying return gave the Spartans hope on Senior Night and, for the moment, they were back in the game.
The Tigers responded on their next possession, needing only seven plays to find the end zone again. Dawson County’s Chris Saylor took a toss sweep around the left side scoring from 17 yards out, extending the Tiger lead to 28-7 at the half.
“We’ve gotten better as the years gone along with our rushing offense. I think we are peaking at the right time,” Lee said.
The balanced Tiger attack finished the night with 446 total yards, 235 rushing and 211 passing. Martin led the way with 112 yards on 19 carries to go along with his three rushing touchdowns.
Dominy had 16 completions on 25 attempts for 211 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. Clark led the receivers with 98 yards on 7 grabs.
West Hall scored their lone offensive touchdown in he second half when Zach England connected with Cameron Johnson on a 41-yard pass with 8:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. England finished the night with 155 passing yards on 13 completions.
Cameron Johnson led the receivers with 91 yards on only three catches.
Lee said he was confident his team will come to play next week.
“We’ve played two of the best teams in the state in Buford and North Hall,” he said. “We’re prepared for it, and you’re going to see good teams anyway from this point on.”