The No. 10 state-ranked Dawson Eagles (3-0) scored the first two times they touched the ball while the Clear Falls Knights (2-1) closed the gap with a score as the first quarter came to an end leaving the Eagles with a 14-7 advantage which was the score at intermission as neither team was able to score again in the first half.
Then the Eagles went on a 35-0 run in the third quarter to make the score 49-7 before the Knights scored with 1:04 left in the game to make the final 49-13.
So far this season, the ground attack is the most dominant part of the Dawson offense averaging over 300 yards per game while the passing game is averaging only 90 yards with a 40 percent completing rate including one touchdown and two interceptions. If the Eagles are going to be a state playoff team, the passing game needs to catch up to make the Eagles a more potent balanced offensive machine. Otherwise, more talented opponents will put more pressure on the ground attack to force the Eagles to throw the ball.
On the other side of the ball, the Dawson defense has allowed only 170 yards per game of total offense. The old saying that offense wins games and defense wins championships is proving to be the strong suit for the Eagles which should help them make a deep run to a region and possible state title this season.
For the second consecutive game, junior running back Brett Winnegan picked up over 200 yards rushing giving him a three-game total of 499 yards on 58 carries and nine touchdowns. The speedster is averaging 8.6 yards per carry. As a team, Dawson has almost 1,000 yards on the ground.
The Eagles ran over the Knights with 430 yards on the ground while averaging 9.1 yards per carry. Winnegan led the way with 214 yards on 28 carries. He had 161 yards on 14 totes in the first half while scoring once in each half.
Dawson opened up the scoring when Karl Vendan gathered in a 22-yard scoring pass from quarterback Ross Wicklund with 6:39 left in the first quarter. Tyler Day booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Clear Falls answered with a 51-yard scoring bomb from QB Alex Assarian to John Humphrey who caught the ball after it bounced off a defender’s helmet. The PAT was good to knot up the score at 7-7 with 5:17 remaining in the opening frame.
But the Eagles took less than a minute to answer as Winnegan took advantage of good blocking and broke free for a 48-yard scoring jaunt to give Dawson a 14-7 lead at intermission as neither team was able to score in the second quarter.
Dawson made the necessary adjustments on offense in the second half to reel off 35 straight points in the third quarter.
Wicklund opened up the scoring in the third quarter with an 8-yard keeper around the left side for a 21-7 lead following the PAT by Day at the 8:23 mark.
It took only 1:16 for the Eagles to score again as LSU commit Tony Upchurch took a pitch from Wicklund and set sail down the left sideline for a 40-yard scoring dash to increase the lead to 28-7.
The Eagles got a Clear Falls turnover and Winnegan made them pay with an 8-yard touchdown at the 6:17 mark of the third quarter and a 35-7 lead.
Dawson closed out the third quarter scoring when Bryce Johnson, who had dropped a sure touchdown earlier, made up for it with a sensational 65-yard scoring jaunt to give the Eagles a commanding 42-7 lead with 4:15 left in the third.
With :56 seconds still left in the third quarter, Travonte Moody picked off an Assarian pass and returned it 91-yards for a score after the Knights had driven deep in Dawson territory. Day added his seventh PAT to make the score 49-7. Dawson head coach Eric Wells called off the dogs and substituted freely throughout the second half.
Clear Falls added a harmless score on a 29-yard scoring pass to make the final score 49-13 with 1:31 left in the game.
The Eagles finished with 480 total yards with 430 yards coming on the ground. Clear Falls posted 236 total yard with on 68 on the ground while suffering two interceptions.
Wicklund was 9-of-19 passing for 50 yards and one score while picking up 25 yards on seven carries and another TD. Upchurch had four carries for 58 yards and one score. Johnson had two totes for 67 yards and one touchdown. Vance Galloway had four carries for 33 yards. Trey Miller had two carries for 17 yards. Tyler Jasmine had four totes for 16 yards. Vedan had two catches for 27 yards and one score. Miller had three grabs for 11 yards.
Dawson opens up District 24-4A action on Friday, September 27 at 7:00 at The Rig when they host the Santa Fe Indians.