By Doug Gorman
For the second straight year, the Dawson Street Wildcats from LaGrange are the Georgia Christian Athletic Association state football champions.
The Wildcats won the title with a 48-0 victory over Mt. Vernon Friday night at Southern Crescent Stadium in McDonough.
Dawson Street, which is coached by former LaGrange High School and University of Alabama quarterback standout Vince Sutton, only led 12-0 at the end of the first half.
Using its advantage in both strength and size, the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the second half before its offense even took a snap.
Dawson Street's quick-strike scoring to start the third quarter all but ended the Crusaders' hopes of winning its second GCAA title in the last three years.
"I am really proud of my team," said Mt. Vernon coach C.E. Rhoades. "We played with a lot of heart tonight. Dawson Street played a great game tonight. They are big and fast, and they didn't make too many mistakes."
Dawson Street begin to pull away from the Crusaders with the opening kickoff of the second half which went for a 77-yard score.
A little more than a minute later, game MVP Roshun Burden returned an interception for the second TD of the half.
Once the Wildcats offense went to work, Burden scored on runs of 82 and 55 yards.
Later, he added two more touchdowns, one on a long punt and lengthy run.
Despite not being able to stop the Wildcats' explosive offense, Micah Peters had 9 tackles and Nathan Cook 8 to pace the Mt. Vernon defense.
Mt. Vernon kept the game close in the first two quarters by attempting to control the ball. On the Crusaders' third drive of the game, they drove the ball to the Dawson Street 22 before giving the ball on downs.
The Wildcats also knocked Mt. Vernon out of the playoffs last year, in what was a first-round game.
This year, Mt. Vernon went into the playoffs with a perfect record and a region title under its belt. Last week, it beat Shiloh to set up the state champion game with Dawson Street.
"At the beginning of the season, I wasn't really sure how good we were going to be," said Rhoades. "We had to play a lot of younger players this year, and they all stepped it up."