It was the first 10-win season in school history last year for the Tigers. But gone is 3,300 yards of offense largely with the departures of Sevaughn Clark and Ahmad Kamara. The defense too lost two of the best to ever suit up in Logan Barnes and Zac Baloga. Huge shoes to fill, but the Tigers seem to always bring in a new crop that gleaned from the previous year. The good news is there are plenty of guys capable of filling the void with Shawn Thomas, Dakohta Sonnichsen, and Isaiah Grindle, who combined for 1,100 rushing yards last year. Brody Howell and Daniel Brock will be the leading tacklers returning to anchor that side of the ball, along with Bryce Bryant and Riley Herndon.
The question will just be who the big names will be at the skill positions. There are 44 seniors listed on the roster, so experience and great coaching by Sid Maxwell will mean Dawson stays near the top. Can the Tigers earn more than a region runner-up spot in 2019, and go further than last year’s Sweet 16?
7 Things To Know About the Tigers
1. New Faces Will Be Key to Success
Get to know the new guys in the “up and coming” category. Some you have heard of, some you haven’t. But when you lose guys like Clark and Kamara, you’re guaranteed to be seeing other names scoring the TDs and making the big plays. Dakohta Sonnichsen, Brody Howell, Riley Herndon, Hunter Barron, and Shawn Thomas are those players.
2. Strength is in Family
Not much of a surprise here, but the Tigers, with Sid Maxwell at the helm, will rely heavily on chemistry in 2019. This is at the core of Dawson’s lasting success. A sense of family and healthy camaraderie between the boys wearing the gold and maroon will translate into wins!
3. Back to the Basics
The true focus for the Tigers this summer has been going back to the building blocks of the game. The fundamental aspects, including tackling, speed, mechanics, etc, has been the focal point leading into 2019.
4. No Featured QB & New Featured Skill Players
So far, no news has come of the front-runner for taking over under center for the Tigers. Expect Maximos Moon to play some role there, and any combination of Keegan Stover, Jaden Gibson, and Zach Holtzclaw. This could be a situation where one guy earns the right to be the every-down QB, or a committee of guys play to their strengths and share time. Dawson County is in no hurry to name a starter because the competition is healthy and all are making progress. Either way, with Clark, Kamara, and Ryan Glass all gone as the starters at QB, RB, and WR, there are all-new go-to options in 2019. Expect big-time contributions from Shawn Thomas and Isaiah Grindle at the RB position, and Riley Herndon and Hunter Barron to be to top targets in the passing game.
5. Defense Will Go All Out
You will see a multiple attack on the defensive side of the ball. This means headaches for opposing teams, as the Tigers can line up as needed based on the opponent and even based on the situation. Dawson fans, go ahead and get used to hearing Bryce Bryant, Barron, Herndon, and Brody Howell as the biggest factors on that side of the ball. These guys and others will lead the charge in filling the huge shoes left by All-State players Zac Baloga and Logan Barnes in 2018.
6. Inexperience In the Trenches
The Tigers have exactly ZERO returners on the O-Line, which was responsible for so much success over the past two or more seasons in the run and pass game. Seth Adams and Bryson Broadway will lead the efforts on the line, protecting the QB and providing room for the running backs. On the flip side, Bryce Bennett and Maximos Moon will be up front on the D-Line.
7. The Old Cliche is the Recipe
One week at a time for the Tigers. It’s been that way for years, and it’s worked. The expectation is to win, but not to set sights on anything other than the next opponent. The focus will remain on fundamentals and execution, and the rest will take care of itself.