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Bulldogs begin football practice; facing torrid schedule

The Thomson High School Bulldogs are gearing up for what might be their most difficult football schedule ever.

With just a few practices now under their belt before the season kicks off with a scrimmage game against the Lincoln County Red Devils in Lincolnton on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m., the Bulldogs will be lacking in the number of seasoned players they have had on the team in the past.

And that's a concern of legendary Head Coach Luther Welsh.

"We're going to be a real young team this year in terms of the number of freshmen and sophomores," Coach Welsh said during a Monday afternoon with The McDuffie Mirror. "We don't have the number of juniors and seniors we've been having."

Coach Welsh explained that the team has one of the largest freshmen classes of football players that they have ever had since he has been at Thomson High.

He hopes that having so many young players to choose from will be beneficial to the Bulldogs down the road. Just last school year, Coach Welsh said school officials had to schedule a third weight class because of the number of younger students.

"We'll just hope for they improve from practice to practice and game to game," Coach Welsh said. "We'll hope for the best, in other words, and see what happens."

Another concern on the minds of Coach Welsh and his staff is this year's schedule.

"It's the toughest schedule that we've faced since I've been here," Coach Welsh admitted. "It's probably the toughest schedule that Thomson has ever had."

The request of several schools in the Augusta area to move up from Class AAA classification to Class AAAA status put Thomson in a position to have to shop around for football teams to play this season.

"Even though we're still in Class AAA, we have to play in a different region - one where we have to play against teams south of us," Coach Welsh said.

The Bulldogs will have to encounter this season the likes of such region foes as Richmond Hill, Liberty County, Washington County, West Laurens, Burke County and Baldwin County.

Thomson also will face four non-region teams, who promise to be no pushovers, either. Those teams include: Washington-Wilkes, Hart County, Statesboro and Buford. The Buford game, which is now set to be played in The Brickyard on Oct. 17, had been originally scheduled for the Bulldogs' opener on Aug. 29. But because Buford had a conflict with that date - playing a team in Texas - Coach Welsh said he agreed to work with them and re-schedule the game for October.

"I thought it was the right thing to do - to help them," Coach Welsh said. "I think they would have done the same thing for us had it been the other way around."

Another concern that Coach Welsh has is the amount of road games on tap this season. The Bulldogs will be on the road six of their 11 games, including the scrimmage against the Lincoln County Red Devils of Larry Campbell.

"There's no doubt about it, playing on the road will be a challenge for us," Coach Welsh said.

Even though the Bulldogs have practiced as a team only a few times since their first session last Friday morning, Coach Welsh has faith that his players will get better and better with each practice and each game.

"They've certainly got possibilities of becoming a pretty good football team, but they've got to work hard," Coach Welsh said. "Who knows, they might surprise all of us."

The Bulldogs have at least two players - both seniors - touted as being college prospects. They include defensive safety Darius Eubanks, who stands 6-3 and weighs 190 pounds and tight end Will Anderson, who stands 6-2 and weighs 230 pounds.

Eubanks is being looked at by the University of Georgia, University of South Carolina and Middle Tennessee State University. Anderson, meanwhile, is being sought by Middle Tennessee State University, as well as Georgia Southern University.

Aside from those two players being counted on heavily this season, two younger players - both sophomores - Phillip Anderson, Will's younger brother, as well as Will Tankersley, are expected to see lots of action.

The younger Anderson will be the backup quarterback behind senior starting quarterback Brandon Turman, who is sure to ignite the Bulldogs' offense again this season.

Tankersley, meanwhile, will be utilized in the all-important secondary.

"He's very quick and that's an area (the secondary) that concerns us," Coach Welsh said. "We think he'll help us quite a bit back there."

2008 Football Schedule

W/L Record: 2 - 8

Date Team Time Score  
Sep 4  WASHINGTON-WILKES 7:30 pm  W 28-7
Sep 11  at Hart County 7:30 pm  L 24-6
Sep 18  STATESBORO   L 13-0
Sep 25  at Richmond Hill   W 65-13
Oct 2  LIBERTY CO. 7:30 pm  L 31-0
Oct 9  at Washington County 7:30 pm  L 19-7
Oct 16  at Buford 7:30 pm  L 41-7
Oct 23  WEST LAURENS 7:30 pm  L 35-25
Oct 30  at Burke County 7:30 pm  L 28-7
Nov 6  BALDWIN 7:30 pm  L 34-19

Web posted on Thursday, August 07, 2008

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