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Loaded for Bears: Thomson High slams past region rival Burke County

The lack of offense from the Thomson Bulldogs had been the talk of the town for the past few weeks. A convincing win over Region 3-AAA rival Burke County would do much to silence that talk.


Thomson Quarterback Jerrell McNair surges ahead in the first half against Burke County.

And the Bulldogs did just that, putting on an offensive display not seen in the first three games. It was enough to put away Burke in the Bears' Den 30-14.

All it took was a little hard work at practice and a bit of inspiration from some old Bulldogs in the community who weren't seeing the all-out effort they were used to from a Thomson team.

"We worked on blocking a little bit, and we stayed after them," said Thomson Coach Luther Welsh. "We had the community behind them, and we had a lot of people come and talk to them that played football at Thomson High School. ...It was hurting them as well as it was hurting the old head coach."


Burke County's Brian Bell fights Thomson's Orlando Johnson for the ball at the end of the first half

The Bears fumbled through the back of their own end zone with under 3:00 to go in the third quarter. It gave Thomson a safety and a 16-14 lead that the Bulldogs added to during the rest of the game, scoring two touchdowns to secure the win.

Coach Welsh said the win was exactly what the team needed to get things moving in the right direction.

"It's a great feeling. It's great for the kids," he said. "They needed a win like this to get them out of the rut they were in, and I know it's got to give them a big lift."

The first of those two late scores came with 6:27 remaining in the game on a Jarrell McNair quarterback keeper from the 1 yard line. The second came six plays after Vincent Scott picked off a Burke County pass and juked his way to the Bears' 26 yard line. The score was the last of the game with 2:14 left.

Early in the third quarter Burke County evened up the score at 14 on a quarterback surge over the goal line by Jamaris Walden.


Thomson's Tobias Kendrick and Travis Scholar tackle Burke County Quarterback Jamaris Walden for a loss in the second half of Friday night's 30-14 victory in Waynesboro.

Thomson Fullback LaBrandon Hudson, who had 23 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown, said the Bulldogs used the negativity focused on the offense to get things moving in the win over Burke County.

"We just knew we had to come out here and play hard. We let all this talk pump us up," he said.

Thomson found some offensive footing on its first drive of the game which started on its own 31 yard line. A 2-yard run on fourth and one from the Burke County 10 yard line a first down from Hudson.

On the next play Anthony Erwin found the right corner of the end zone for the Bulldogs' first touchdown in three games. Clay Dent added the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter.

With just under 8:00 to go before halftime, a Kelcey Neal sack of Walden forced a Burke punt and gave Thomson possession on its own 28. A 15-play, 6:30 drive ended in a 2-yard Tim McCord touchdown run with 1:15 remaining before halftime.

But Burke County turned on the two-minute offense, and it was effective. A 26-yard pass from Walden to Mike Simpson left the Bears on the Thomson 35.

Then Walden found Brian Bell through two Thomson defenders on a Hail Mary pass.

Bell fell backward into the end zone barely grasping the ball as time ran out on the first half. The touchdown left the score 14-6 at halftime.


Thomson's Kelcey Neal sacks the Burke County quarterback.

Tomorrow, Thomson comes back to the Brickyard to face sub-region opponent Cross Creek.

The Razorbacks have never beaten the Bulldogs in their three meetings. Thomson has never scored under 40 points against Cross Creek, and the Razorbacks have never scored more than 8 points against the Bulldogs.

Cross Creek comes in at 1-3, with its only win a 7-6 victory over AA opponent Josey.

Last year, Cross Creek had its best year since the school's inception with a 4-6 record and wins over Jefferson County, Burke County, Hephzibah and ARC.


Thomson 30, Burke County 14

Star of the game: The Thomson offensive line was able to make room for the running backs in a way it hasn't all season, resulting in more points on the board and a big win over a strong region rival.


Assistant Coach Curtis Williams congratulates defensive players as they come off the field late in the game against Burke County.

Play of the game: With Thomson leading 23-14 and 5:20 remaining in the game, the Bulldogs' defense sacked the Bear's quarterback for a 14-yard loss that forced a third and 25 pass. That pass was picked off by Vincent Scott and run to the Bears' 26 yard line to help Thomson hold on for the win.

Up Next: Thomson (3-1, 2-0) plays host to Region 3N-AAA opponent Cross Creek (1-3, 0-2). Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Web posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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