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Thomson starts slow in Washington

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Thomson somehow found a way to beat its old rival Washington-Wilkes on the Tiger's home field last Friday. The 20-7 score puts a "two" in the win category for the season, but that's about the only positive for Head Coach Luther Welsh, who was steaming after the game.

Despite the win, he wasn't satisfied with his team's play. He thinks they have more potential than they showed Friday night.

"We have to adjust our people where we can play better football, and that's the problem," Coach Welsh said.

Injuries to Bulldogs (2-0) on both sides of the ball -- and especially the offensive line -- have forced coaches to continue to play younger players who they feel aren't ready for the varsity level yet.

"That's all I've got to play, and I've got to live with it," he said. "It looks like every game we play we're going to by lucky to come out with a win."

The Bulldogs' got inside the Washington-Wilkes 20 yard line four times in the second quarter but only found the endzone once. A Demarcus Wilson 1-yard run on fourth down gave Thomson its only touchdown of the first half.

With a sluggish offense and little confidence in the kicking game, Coach Welsh called running plays on five separate fourth downs in the half.

"We have to face reality. We don't have a kicker," Coach Welsh said. "I'm happy to get an extra point through there."

Thomson's rushing defense held the Tigers (0-1-1) scoreless in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead at the break. But after getting nowhere with the run, the Tigers brought out the shotgun for the second half. The surprising pass attack threw off the run-focused Thomson defensive unit.

"Washington-Wilkes is not a shotgun team. They just kind of sprang that on us. I think they knew they couldn't run the ball on us," said Thomson's Defensive Coordinator John Barnett, noting that the defense adjusted well.

Thomson's offense found its rhythm in the fourth quarter while holding a 13-7 lead. The final frame began with a 93-yard scoring drive that burned six-and-a-half minutes off the clock. And it happened with the rushing of Clifton Belton, Tim McCord and Dan Ivey.

Next up for Thomson is the longest trip of the regular season. The Bulldogs travel to Liberty County for their first of two cross sub-region games this Saturday. The other is against Burke County on Sept. 10.

Even though Liberty County has lost its first two games this year to Bradwell Institute and McIntosh County Academy, the Thomson coaching staff still considers them a strong, fast team that could potentially pose problems for the Bulldogs.

"They'll give us trouble with their speed, with their running backs," Coach Welsh said. "Their return man has great speed. They have some good skill people."

Bulldog runningback Clifton Belton made his return Friday night with 73 yards on 10 carries. This week, offensive lineman Scott Jenkins may be ready to play against Liberty County.



Web posted on Thursday, September 2, 2004


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