Fumbles hindered Dawson County’s offense in the first half against Forsyth Central. Those turnovers soon stopped, but Tigers quarterback Tyler Dominy was just getting started.
Dominy completed 23 of 29 passes for 412 yards and six touchdowns, leading Dawson to a 48-29 victory against Central on Friday at the Bulldogs’ field.
The 6-foot-4 senior quarterback connected with eight different receivers, including five different players for touchdowns, as the Tigers (3-1) won the scoring battle 34-14 after the Bulldogs (0-3) took a brief one-point lead in the second quarter.
"We know what we’ve got, but the rest of the state doesn’t know what he is or the nation," Tigers head coach Jeff Lee said of Dominy.
"You’ve got a kid that’s a Division I [caliber] quarterback that doesn’t even have an offer ... no offer from any school, and he’s probably one of the best quarterbacks in the state right now. He’s got 1,130 [passing yards] unofficially through four games."
Central led Dawson 15-14 midway through the second quarter and threatened to score again after recovering the Tigers’ second fumble. But on second-and-5 from the Tigers’ 11, Central quarterback Michael Branigan (7 of 13, 116 yards, TD, 2 INT) was intercepted by Zach Guy, and the Tigers took over on offense at their own 34.
Dominy moved the Tigers into Central territory with a pair of completions to Keaton Toal, then connected on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Clark to put Dawson back on top 20-15 with 2:11 remaining before halftime.
Central drove into Dawson territory again with under a minute remaining in the first half, but this time Clark intercepted Branigan and took the ball all the way to the end zone before the score was negated due to a block in the back penalty at the 29. That only delayed Dawson from putting more points on the board, as Dominy hit Will Anglin over the middle for 33-yard touchdown with 18.1 seconds remaining to boost the lead to 27-15 going into halftime.
"One of the plays of the year was Bruce Clark’s interception," Lee said. "I know [the touchdown] got nullified, but that was an unbelievable play."
The Bulldogs lost their third turnover of the night on the seventh play of the second half, and Dawson turned it into seven more points on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dominy to Mitchell Putnam that increased the lead to 34-15 and essentially iced the game.
Branigan (22 carries, 122 rushing yards, two touchdowns) put the ball in the end zone twice more for Central courtesy of a 15-yard run and a seven-yard run, but Dominy also led Dawson to 14 more points in between those scores.
Dominy’s most impressive play might have come on his fifth touchdown pass. He narrowly avoided being sacked while scrambling to the right sideline, then raced back to the left side of the field and found Colton Chester wide open in the left corner of the end zone for a 25-yard scoring play.
Receiver Chris Sayler did the bulk of the work on the Tigers’ final scoring play, catching the ball about 8 yards in front of the line of scrimmage before streaking another 63 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. Sayler led the team with five catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
"[Tyler is] just a phenomenal player, we’ve got great receivers and the offense doesn’t stop," Lee said.
Dominy accounted for 79 of the Tigers’ 80 yards on the opening drive of the game, completing 3 of 6 passes, including a 40-yard bomb to Mitchell Putnam down to the Bulldogs’ 1-yard line. One play later, running back Zach Martin carried the ball in for a touchdown before 45 seconds had ticked off the game clock.
Martin carried the ball 11 times for 81 of the Tigers’ 121 rushing yards.
The Tigers blocked a Forsyth Central punt on the ensuing series and set up at the Bulldogs’ 29. Dominy was sacked on first down, but he responded with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Sayler on the next play to double the lead to 14-0 after the extra point.
"We came out fast in the no-huddle [offense]," Lee said. "Starting fast was big for us tonight."
Central responded with a four-play scoring drive made possible by a 48-yard touchdown pass from Branigan to receiver Jeremiah Jones (4 catches, 84 yards). Branigan then hit tight end Corey Vascocu with a pass for the two-point conversion.
The Tigers drove 62 yards on the next series but lost their first fumble at the Central 12.
Two Central possessions later, running back Shay Hollis (12 carries, 120 rushing yards) zigzagged back and forth across the field during an 81-yard gain that started at the Central 4 and ended up at the Dawson 15. Two plays later, Hollis carried the ball to the 1 before fumbling it into the end zone, where Central recovered for a touchdown. Anel Ramic’s extra point gave the Bulldogs their only lead of the night, 15-14.
Central finished with 306 rushing yards.
Dawson returns home to face North Hall on Friday while Central hosts Sprayberry.