Dawson County will travel to Greater Atlanta Christian on Friday searching for its first-ever victory against a ranked opponent from the same classification. The 10th-ranked Tigers are 6-0 for the first time in school history as they turn their focus toward the sixth-ranked Spartans.
At this time last season, Dawson County was 3-2, and although went on a 5-1 run through region play, it lost to GAC in the final game of the regular season before losing to Cedar Grove in the second round of the playoffs. This year, Dawson County is eyeing the upset.
The programs have met eight times, and Dawson has just one victory to its credit (in 2000 under head coach Jeff Fleming). They played each year until 2005 before rekindling the rivalry in 2016 under head coaches Tim Hardy (GAC) and Sid Maxwell (Dawson County).
The Tigers are a run-heavy team featuring five players with more than 200 yards. Two of the backs have run for more than 400 yards; Ahmad Kamara leads the way with 669 yards. Dawson has rushed for 2,313 yards this season with 553 total passing yards. Dawson averages 385.5 rushing yards per game, 92.2 passing.
Kamara, a 6-foot, 215-pound senior, averages 10.1 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns. Quarterback Sevaughn Clark, a 6-1, 200-pound senior, has rushed for 479 yards and 10 touchdowns on 75 carries. Sophomore Dakhota Sonnichsen, a 5-7, 150-pound back, has two touchdowns and 235 yards on 18 carries. Shawn Thomas, a 5-11, 168-pound junior running back, has three touchdowns and 232 yards on 21 carries. Evan Abernathy, a 5-7. 165-pound senior, has rushed for two touchdowns and 220 yards on 25 carries. Senior Ethan Cameron has been efficient with three rushing touchdowns on six carries.
The Tigers have attempted 76 passes, with Clark throwing for each of Dawson's five touchdown passes. He is 40-of-71 passing for 481 yards.
On the other side of the field, GAC awaits.
The Spartans have featured a balanced attack, averaging 218 yards passing and 173 rushing yards. Quarterbacks Josh Rose (54-of-104 passing for 933 yards and nine touchdowns) and Jackson Hardy (26-of-45 passing for 351 yards and three touchdowns) split duties leading GAC. Rose Has run for 383 yards on 47 carries with five rushing touchdowns.
Montae Bailey leads in rush yardage with 386 yards on 74 carries and three touchdowns. Tyler Bride, Jake Floyd and Nick Papadakis each have rushed for one touchdown.
Another top game involves two ranked teams from Region 5. No. 5 Westminster travels to No. 9 Pace Academy for the third installment of the newly minted rivalry. Westminster has won both previous meetings, including a 15-14 victory last year.
Although it lost to higher-classed opponents in consecutive weeks before entering region play, Westminster has impressed with victories against Woodward Academy (56-31) and at GAC (22-21) in the first two weeks of the season.
Pace, since entering region play, has flourished with victories against Redan (35-14) Stone Mountain (61-18) last week. The 61-point effort against Stone Mountain marked the second-highest scoring performance in school history behind the 62-point victory over Mount Vernon Presbyterian. The highlight of the season was a victory over Eagle's Landing Christian (17-16) in Week 2 which snapped ELCA's 37-game winning-streak.
Here's the top-10 weekend schedule:
1. (1 last week) Calhoun (5-0, 3-0) – Travels to Adairsville (3-3, 2-2) for a Region 6 game.
2. (2) Cedar Grove (5-1, 2-0) – At home against Towers (0-6, 0-2) in a Region 5 game.
3. (3) Monroe Area (6-0, 2-0) – At home against Jackson County (2-4, 0-2) in a Region 8 matchup.
4. (4) Peach County (4-2, 2-0) – Off this week, will play host to Rutland on Oct. 12.
5. (5) Westminster (3-2, 1-0) – Travels to No. 9 Pace Academy (4-2, 2-0) for a Region 5 game.
6. (6) Greater Atlanta Christian (4-2) – At home against No. 10 Dawson County (6-0, 2-0) in a Region 7 game. (See above).
7. (7) Benedictine (4-1, 3-0) -- At home against Windsor Forest (2-3, 1-2) for a Region 3 game.
8. (8) Jefferson (5-1, 2-0) – At home against Hart County (2-3, 1-0) in a Region 8 game.
9. (9) Pace Academy (4-2, 2-0) – At home against No. 5 Westminster (3-2, 1-0) in a Region 5 game. (See above).
10. (10) Dawson County (6-0, 2-0) – Travels to No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian for a Region 7 game.