The Thomson High School Bulldogs answered a few questions in a 21-0 drubbing of the Salem Seminoles at the Brickyard last Friday.
The Bulldog defense stepped up - holding the Seminoles to just 107 yards total offense.
And the offense was pretty good too, amassing 348 total yards - including 163 yards on James Bonner's 16 carries. One of his runs went for 72-yards and a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage.
Thomson Head Coach Luther Welsh had expressed concern that his Bulldogs might be in struggle offensively, since they are young and inexperienced and because Salem was a much bigger team in terms of size.
"We made a lot of mistakes and did some things wrong, but it's the first game starting for some of our kids," he said. "... We're going to get better and better, the more our younger kids get a chance to play. We made some mistakes against Salem, but it was our first game of the season and when you play that first game, mistakes are going to happen. We just have to work harder."
Thomson's offense got off to an early start against Salem. Bonner's 72-yard run came on just the second play from scrimmage, putting Thomson ahead 7-0.
From there, the teams traded punts for the rest of the first quarter. Thomson threatened to score again, early in the second quarter. A Brandon Turman pass found Kwynta "D.T." Brown, who fumbled after being hit at the Salem 3-yard line.
Then Salem fumbled the second-half kickoff, setting up the Bulldog offense 12-yards from its second score. Wingback Nathaniel Jones was initially stuffed up the middle, but found a seam around the right side for the 12-yard touchdown with 10:26 remaining in the third quarter.
Two consecutive big plays helped Thomson to its third and final score of the night. Darius Eubanks hauled in a 41-yard Turman pass on Salem's 39-yard line with just under 5 minutes remaining in the third. Then Bonner followed his blockers and did the rest on the next play.
Salem started passing late in the game, and initially found some success. Seminole quarterback Terrance Davis completed four passes for 44 yards. Dropped passes plagued Salem in the fourth quarter, and Thomson's defense held up, stifling the comeback effort and preserving the shutout.
"It's always good to get a shutout," said Thomson Defensive Coordinator John Barnett. "I was pleased overall with the way we bowed our necks when Salem started to get a little momentum. We came up with a couple of big stops, I thought."
The Bulldogs hope to do the same this week against Washington-Wilkes. The Tigers come into the game against Thomson having lost their season-opener 33-13 at the hands of a strong Warren County High Screaming Devils football team. Last year, the Tigers led Thomson 10-0 at the half before losing 40-16. Two years ago, Washington-Wilkes took a win in the Brickyard 10-0.
But this year, Washington-Wilkes is young and inexperienced. One of the fastest players on the team is a just a freshman - Eric Scott. Against Warren County, Scott exploded for a pair of long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 149-yards rushing.
The game between Thomson and Washington-Wilkes is set for 7:30 p.m.
Thomson 21, Salem 0