SPECIAL TEAMS: Sr. PK, P Max Muldoon is a solid veteran
STRENGTH: Offensive line -- The Tigers are eight deep on OL and return eight starters from a good offense last season. Dominy will be hard to replace, but the running game behind Lamar should be good, and the kicking will be solid behind Muldoon, who was 51-of-51 last year on PATs.
QUESTION: Overall depth -- the secondary must fill several spots. The Tigers also must stay healthy after losing three defensive starters in the first two games last year.
KEY GAMES: Lee said the first game against East Hall will set the tone for the Tigers. North Hall and White County games will be huge to finish in the top three
TRENDING: Numbers in the program have continued to rise over the past three seasons and the Tigers advanced to the postseason last year for the first time since 2004. If they can stay away from injuries the Tigers should be right in the mix for another shot at the playoffs.
Aug. 23 at East Hall
Aug. 30 vs. Lumpkin County
Sept. 6 at North Forsyth
Sept. 13 vs. Forsyth Central
Sept. 27 at North Hall
Oct. 4 vs. Banks County
Oct. 18 vs. Buford
Oct. 25 at White County
Nov. 1 vs. Fannin County
Nov. 8 vs. West Hall
DAWSONVILLE -- If not for a slew of injuries to key personnel, who knows how far Dawson County football would have gone in 2012.<br />
The Tigers lost three key defensive players in the first two games of the season, including two in the opening series of the season-opener against East Hall.<br />
But coach Jeff Lee, who is entering his 11th season in Dawsonville, said dwelling on the past and what-could-have-been will not help his team navigate a tough Region 7-AAA in 2013. The Tigers managed to make the state playoffs last year but a depleted defense could not hold up against eventual state runner-up St. Pius in the first round.<br />
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/72666325" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/72666325">2013 Dawson County Preview</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/wduntv">WDUN TV</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p><br />
"We had some bad luck early last year, but we aren't fretting about that," Lee said. "We made the playoffs and had a good year considering the amount of injuries."<br />
If the Tigers are to repeat their playoff appearance in 2013 they will have to find replacements at several key positions, including quarterback. Dawson County graduated standout signal caller Tyler Dominy, leading rusher Zach Martin, and leading receiver Bruce Clark to graduation.<br />
However, the Tigers return eight players that saw significant action on the offensive line -- which should make the transition for senior fullback Cody Lamar and junior quarterback Zack Buchan somewhat smooth. Seniors Eli Brown and Chase Wilson and junior Corvin Thomas will anchor the line.<br />
"We have a lot of quality depth on the line, and I really feel our running game should be very good," Lee said. "Zack has some big shoes to fill but is making a lot of progress."<br />
Defensively, the Tigers may be better than last year's unit at this same point. Senior Keaton Toal and junior Corey Voyles anchor a good linebacker group and senior defensive end Logan Hayes leads a solid group up front.<br />
"We were very strong defensively last year coming into the opener, and we may be ahead of that group right now," Lee said. "Obviously staying away from injuries will be a big key -- it is for everyone."<br />
Lee said every team in 7-AAA may be playing for second place behind defending state champion Buford -- which may be even stronger than last year. And he said a solid stazrt is needed to set the tone for his Tigers.<br />
"The region is very tough and very physical," he said. "We need a good start to build some confidence, and we need to stay healthy to have a chance. We think we'll be right in the mix of things of things if we improve each week and keep our best players on the field."
While title runs and the excitement of a busy spring sports season has stolen most of the headlines over the past few weeks, another group of dedicated athletes have been hard at work -- aiming for the headlines of this fall.