Friday February 5th, 2016 5:20PM

Tigers-Warriors showdown takes on added import now

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
Friday night's showdown between White County and Dawson County already had plenty going for it, as the two playoff hopefuls from Region 7-AAA squared off for postseason positioning.

Then came Monday's news, and suddenly things took on an even more urgent tone for the face-off in Dawsonville.

With Buford forfeiting two victories -- over West Hall and Banks County -- due to fielding an ineligible player in the waning moments of both lopsided contests, the Warriors and Tigers suddenly have a lot more company in the race for state.

In fact, Dawson and White are now joined by Banks and West Hall, along with fourth-ranked Buford -- which defeated the Tigers and Warriors earlier this season -- with identical 2-2 region records. The abundance of 2-2 records mean that a victory on Friday could be even more important in the postseason picture. And the loser of Friday's contest could be left needing a two-game sweep at the end of the season just to ensure a playoff berth.

For their part, however, neither the Tigers nor the Warriors are worried about playing the "what if" game. They have more pressing matters at hand -- starting Friday.

"We can't worry about what we'll have to do after this game; we can only focus on this game right now," Dawson County coach Jeff Lee said. "Just because of the Buford forfeits, that hasn't really changed anything major. We're still fighting for a playoff spot right now, and whoever wins this game has a great shot at third, maybe even second if things fall right."

Warriors coach Bill Ballard agreed: "Friday is very important for us, and that's all we're really looking at right now,"

Both teams are preparing for a battle in Dawsonville, as White County (4-3, 2-2 Region 7-AAA) brings its triple option attack to bear against Dawson's (4-3, 2-2) wide-open offensive assault.

"They are huge and fast at receiver, and that will be a tough match-up for everyone," Ballard said of the Tigers, who feature 6-foot-5 senior Bruce Clark, among other weapons that quarterback Tyler Dominy has taken advantage of for much of the 2012 campaign.

"Their quarterback (Dominy) throws the ball extremely well," Ballard continued. "And their fullback (Zack Martin) is a bull. And then on defense they have a tough eight-man front. We've got our work cut out for us."

The Tigers are also expecting a test, especially against White County's triple option attack, led by quarterback Will Brock.

"They make you play assignment football, and then they can still hit you with the pass if you get too sucked up looking for the run," Lee said. "We've got to cover the fullback and make them go to their second option at least, and their quarterback -- who is their second option -- is pretty stinking good.

"I think we're two pretty evenly-matched teams, and it's going to be a good high school football game on Friday."

Indeed, the Tigers enter the contest averaging 30.7 points per game on offense while allowing 22. The Warriors are scoring 25.9 and giving up 22.7.

"We both have strong defenses and can run the ball," said Lee, who adds that, despite falling to Buford 34-3 last week, his team gathered confidence with its most recent performance. "You could see our confidence building as the game went on, and I'm hoping that, at least our defense, can carry that over into this week."

White County, meanwhile, is looking to regain its footing after dropping two straight -- 49-14 to Buford and then 42-7 at 7-AAA leader North Hall last week. And while the Warriors enter still nursing some injuries, Ballard has no doubt his team will give its best effort in Dawsonville.

"These kids have taken everything in stride and have played extremely hard. I'm real proud of them," said Ballard, who has seen Brock miss game time, along with standout middle linebacker Dalton Whitfield, amongst other starters. "We don't have a lot of depth, but the farther along we get, the healthier we're getting. And these kids have shown great leadership and have been a lot of fun to coach."

Both coaches believe Friday's match-up should also prove fun for those in the stands -- and Lee expects an electric atmosphere for a game that carries so much import.

"I think that will only add to the game," Lee said. "We're excited, and they'll be excited too. They have to be. Look at what's at stake... It's going to be an interesting next three weeks."

NOTES: Dawson County has already played three of the five teams tied at 2-2, losing to Buford and North Hall but defeating Banks County 45-9. White County has played just two of those teams, falling to both North Hall and Buford. The Warriors will follow Friday's Dawson contest with back-to-back home dates with West Hall (Nov. 2) and Banks (Nov. 9). ... North Hall currently sits alone in first place in 7-AAA with a 4-0 league mark and is 6-1 overall. The Trojans could clinch the 7-AAA title with wins this week against West Hall (in Oakwood) and then at home to Banks County (Nov. 2). ... West Hall -- which defeated Banks 33-20 earlier this season -- still holds its own playoff destiny in its hands with games against White County (Nov. 2, away) and Dawson County (Nov. 9, home). ... Buford will need help to win 7-AAA, needing to sweep its remaining games and hoping for someone else to defeat North Hall. ... Earlier this week, we erroneously reported incorrect records for West Hall and Banks County, who are now each 3-4 overall.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
-- RADIO: 1350 AM,
-- WHITE (4-3, 2-2 Region 7-AAA): Lost to North Hall 42-7 last week.
-- DAWSON (4-3, 2-2 Region 7-AAA): Lost to Buford 34-3 last week.
-- HISTORY: White County won the last meeting, 50-43 in 2001. The Warriors lead the series 3-1.
© Copyright 2016
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 3 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 3 years ago )
Boys basketball: Dawson County storms to Battle of States crown, 13-0 mark
The Dawson boys basketball team extended their perfect start to the season to 13-0 -- their best opening in over 40 years -- on Saturday, claiming the Battle of the States tournament title in the process, 62-22 over Murphy, N.C., in Hiawassee.
11:17PM ( 3 years ago )
Girls basketball: Chestatee stumbles to losses in tournament play
The Chestatee girls basketball team dropped a 50-47 decision to Allatoona on Saturday at the Allatoona Christmas Tournament in Acworth.
8:19PM ( 3 years ago )
High School Sports
Swimming: Porter, area hopefuls impress during championship preliminary races
Camille Porter -- and a host of other northeast Georgia-based swimmers -- served notice on Friday: They have medals in their sites.
7:54PM ( 2 hours from now )
(VIDEO) 2016 Signing Day reflections: Area stars inspire at annual FCA event
Dreams came true once again on Wednesday for area football players at what has become an inspiring annual National Signing Day event...
7:53PM ( 2 hours from now )
Swimming: Area standouts looking to build on recent success at state championships
For the past three years, swimmers from the Gainesville area have turned the GHSA swim and dive championships into their own personal medal parties.
6:42PM ( 1 hour from now )
Basketball: Several regions still up for grabs on final weekend; standings as of Feb. 4
The final two days of the regular season are here and area teams will try to wrap up regular season titles or better position themselves for the upcoming region tournaments...
6:25PM ( 1 hour from now )
Balance helps Georgia women knock off No. 21 Missouri 65-50
Marjorie Butler led a balanced attack with 16 points and Georgia used a late 12-0 run to defeat No. 21 Missouri 65-50 on Thursday night.
By The Associated Press
10:21PM ( 18 hours ago )