Dawson nips George Ranch 14-13

DAWSON at GEORGE RANCH — It doesn't always have to look pretty to get a win on the gridiron and Dawson head coach Eric Wells will take a 14-13 win any day of the week.

"We got just enough. I'll take 14-13 all day," Wells said.

Dawson spent the first half against the Longhorns trying to find themselves. The first couple of series saw the Eagles moving in the wrong direction and getting punts of 14 and 11 yards after their first two possessions didn't help the Dawson defense in trying to keep George Ranch out of their end of the field which is where they spent most of the first half.

The first short punt is what led George Ranch to their first score of the game as David Fisher III gave the Longhorns a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run at 8:33 of the first quarter. The Longhorns set up at the Dawson 21 following the poor punt and turned the short field into points.

Dawson's defense kept the Eagles in the game as they turned away two other potential Longhorn first-half scoring drives with a fumble recovery by Tyree Pierce and an interception from JaColby Shelton.

Meanwhile, the Dawson offense was still trying to find their game-plan, but couldn't find the consistency they were looking for against the Longhorns defense.

George Ranch controlled most of the second quarter as they got the ball with 7:18 left in the period and proceeded to march down the field 76-yards in 17-plays.

The Eagles defense made a critical stop at the end of the quarter forcing the Horns to settle for an Eric Michel's 23-yard field goal as time expired on the first half clock giving them a 10-0 lead at intermission.

George Ranch got the second half kickoff and it appeared that they were going to take full control of the game and hand the Eagles their first district loss of the season as they drove from their own 25 to the Dawson 14. On second down, the George Ranch running back appeared that he was going to score, but the Eagles forced a fumble and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touch back on their own 20.

Dawson moved from their 20 to the George Ranch 21 where the drive stalled on a failed fourth-and-three.

After the Eagles forced a Longhorns punt after six plays, Dawson began its first touchdown drive at its own 28.

It took only eight plays for the Eagles to march 78-yard to find the pay station to close the gap to 10-7 with only 49 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Going back to the basics and to their workhorse running back Darrius Smith who carried six straight times to the Longhorns 25, the Arizona commit included a run of 22 yards as part of his 47 yards gain during the drive.

The drive was capped off by Eagle quarterback Patrick Kramer hitting a wide open Kahlil Jones for a 26-yard TD strike.

However, on their next possession, George Ranch drove from their own 33 to the Dawson 23 where they settled for a 40-yard field goal by Michel for a 13-7 advantage with 7:18 remaining in the game.

But the Eagles weren't going away and their confidence had building during the second half.

"At halftime, the kids were looking at us coaches saying 'you tell me what to do and we'll do it,'" Wells said. "The coaches did a great job of making a few adjustments, and we were able to move the ball downfield."

Dawson took the ensuing kickoff, following the field goal, and drove the ball from their own 25 to the George Ranch end zone in seven plays as Mason Pierce scored on a 10-yard jet sweep on fourth-and-five to cap the 75-yard drive to tie up the game at 13-13.

That set up the all important PAT by Dawson's Claire Jeffress who booted the ball through the uprights. But a motion penalty by Dawson moved the ball back 5-yards forcing a do over which Jeffress was good again for the 14-13 lead with 4:39 left in the district contest.

The Dawson defense stepped up to preserve the win as senior linebacker Paul Jennings wrapped up George Ranch quarterback Cristian Jackson for no gain at the Longhorn 47-yard line on a fourth-and-seven play with 3:16 remaining.

With no time outs, the Eagles ran out the clock to get the critical district win to improve to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in district while the Longhorns are winless in district at 0-2 and 1-3 overall which is very uncharacteristic for the Longhorns who won the Class 5A Div. I state title in 2015 before moving up to 6A.

Smith was the leading rusher with 29 carries for 153 yards and he also had two catches for 54 yards.

Kramer was 10-of-15 passing for 152 yards and one TD to Khalil Jones who had two catches for 37 yards including the 26-yard TD strike.

Mason Pierce had five catches for 57 yards and Spencer Wells had one grab for four yards.

Dawson finished with 152 yards passing and 174 yards on the ground for a total of 326 yards while the defense allowed 241 yards to George Ranch including only 67 yards passing.

Dawson will celebrate Homecoming on Friday, October 13 at 7:00 p.m. at The Rig when they host the Brazoswood Buccaneers.