It was another solid year for the Dawson County Tigers football team. That season ended a few weeks back in the second round of the GHSA 3A State Playoffs. While the run wasn’t as deep as they were hoping to go, the Tigers (8-4) have clearly become a perennial contender.
“When you get to the top of the mountain, it’s hard to stay up there,” explains coach Sid Maxwell, who took over a 2-8 Dawson County team coming off a tough 2014 season. He immediately brought the football program back to greatness, and beyond any level accomplished in school history with a 2015 that culminated in a 3A Quarterfinal berth and the team’s first-ever region championship. That 9-win team won eight the following season and another eight this year.
To put that into perspective, the Tigers have won 25 games over the last three seasons, including three playoff wins. From 2000-2014, Dawson County had won only 64 games (4 wins per season on average) and exactly zero playoff wins.
Never before has Dawson made the state playoffs in three straight seasons as they have now done. And Maxwell says that this year was special, because not many thought they’d make it back after losing so many to graduation. That outsider perspective will be in play again next year after graduating Coey Watson, Dawson’s all-time leader in almost every category at the quarterback position. [COEY WATSON CAREER HIGHLIGHTS]
“You don’t replace a Coey Watson,” says Maxwell. However, Maxwell says that the culture that exists at Dawson now is that from sixth grade on up through the system, “you know the plays as well as you know your name.” Which means, whoever steps in after Watson may not be the immediate playmaker and coach/vocal leader that Watson was, but they’ll be used to the system and will know that Tiger football is a winning program, so the bar starts there.
For Watson, he finishes a career of historical proportions. He sits among the all-time leaders in state history in passing yards (6,928) and passing TDs (65). He also added 2,002 rushing yards and another 41 TD, giving him a career total of 8,930 yards of offense and 106 total touchdowns.
Recruiters would say he’s undersized. However, Watson states that “they should look at the size of my heart instead.” Indeed, Watson has played through significant elbow and knee injuries over the past two seasons that most would have not played through. He would often carry the team on his back and leave it all on the field.
It’ll be different seeing someone else take the snaps under center starting next fall at Dawson County, and there will be a lot of pressure on the guy who has that tall task of filling those shoes. Nevertheless, Dawson County will reload and continue on its winning tradition they have begun to build since back in 2012 and 2013 with guys like Tyler Dominy, Will Anglin, Bruce Clark and Zack Martin, etc.