SYLVANIA, Ga. - Two coaches on the sideline Friday night faced their old team across the field. For Mark Daniel, getting used to being on the visitor's side in Sylvania was something he had to practice.
"I love to come back and visit," Coach Daniel said after the game. "...But I'm in a good home now."
But the Thomson offensive coordinator and Head Coach Luther Welsh were both able to do what they came to do, and that was lead the Bulldogs to a 19-7 win over Screven County in the season's only scrimmage.
"They did good at times," Coach Welsh said. "Of course we knew they were going to make some mistakes. That was part of it, and that's why we have this game, to see what they can do and what we need to work on."
Coach Daniel's offense showed flashes of explosive power after being held scoreless in the first quarter. Fullback LaBrandon Hudson pounded his way through the middle on several critical runs. A missed 40-yard field goal attempt late in the first capped a drive that began with a seven-yard Jaquavius Surrency pass reception.
A Quin Lee sack of the Screven quarterback set up a Thomson drive that ended in a 66-yard Anthony "Pooh" Erwin quarterback keeper for a touchdown with 5:30 left before halftime. The Johnny Weischedel extra point attempt was blocked.
Erwin and Hudson combined for another scoring drive with 1:45 remaining in the first half. Erwin scampered 22 yards when he could find no open receiver. Erwin then exited the game with equipment problems, and Hudson hit a run of 10 yards followed by one of 18 yards for the score. Weischedel's kick was blocked again.
Screven County fumbled the kickoff return at the start of the second half to set up Thomson's final score. Rodney Roberts snatched up the ball on the nine yard line, and the Bulldogs only needed two plays to get into the end zone.
Second string Quarterback Brandon Turman found an open Surrency for an eight-yard reception. Then James Bonner ran the remaining yard for the score. Phillip Bonner's kick split the uprights to make the score 19-0 with 11:09 left in the third quarter.
Thomson's hard hitting, young defense that had held Screven scoreless for two and a half quarters got beat on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 left in the third after a steady diet of runs from the Gamecocks.
Neither team's backups could manage to score in the fourth quarter, and the game ended with the Bulldogs up 19-7.
"They're just going to make mistakes. A lot of those kids haven't played much football," Coach Welsh said of his second string. "But they're learning, and they're trying. So they've got possibilities."
But the scrimmage certainly served its purpose, he added, and that is pointing out where the coaching staff needs to focus to get ready for the season.
"One thing's for sure; we've got to work on blocking," Coach Welsh said. "We missed some blocks up there, and we knew we would."