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Thomson tops Hart County in battle of the Bulldogs at Brickyard

Thomson High backed up a bruising defense with a pounding running attack to be Hart County 19-3 last week at the Brickyard.

But the Bulldogs will need to step up even more this week as they travel to play Class AAAA power Statesboro.

"They'll be the best team that we faced up to this point," said Thomson Coach Luther Welsh.

Coach Welsh said he spoke to Statesboro Head Coach Steve Pennington Saturday and told him that he understood the Blue Devils were a pretty good football team. Coach Welsh pointed out that he didn't receive the usual reply that most coaches give when he pays them a compliment.

"He said, 'Yea, we're a pretty good football team,'" recalled Coach Welsh. "It caught me a little off guard, because I didn't really expect him to agree with me. I expected a more low-key approach."

Coach Welsh said Thomson will need to control the time of possession if the Bulldogs are going to come out on top. Additionally, the Bulldogs must also play as perfect as they can when it comes to their blocking game, added Coach Welsh.

"We've got to stay down," he said. "We can't block standing up. If we're able to move our feet and stay down, I believe we might be alright against Statesboro. We'll just have to wait and see."

Coach Welsh said he was pleased with his offense's performance against Hart County, where the Bulldogs amassed 221 yards rushing against Hart County - their best ground attack of the season.

"We weren't sure that we could beat Hart County before we played them," admitted Thomson Head Coach Luther Welsh. "I think one reason we won was because we played a little better, offensively. We moved the ball better against them than we did in our first two games. I was proud of that fact."

Hart County, meanwhile, were held to just 45 yards rushing. Through the air, Hart County accounted for 92 yards to Thomson's 16. While keeping Hart County to less than 140 yards total offense, Thomson also kept them from scoring a touchdown.

"We were really concerned after seeing (Hart County) last week, because they seemed like a pretty good offensive football team," said Thomson Defensive Coordinator John Barnett. "So I was real pleased that we were able to keep them out of the end zone."

In fact, it was Thomson's defense that put the Bulldogs' first points on the board. Thomson defensive end Dexter Sneed scooped up a Beck fumble on Hart's 9-yard line and rumbled into the right corner of the end zone with 7:40 remaining before halftime to get the home team on the board.

"The ball fell on the ground. I had to pick it up. It's my dream to score a touchdown," said Sneed, whose only other career score came on a fumble recovery in Thomson's home opener last season.

After holding Hart to three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Thomson took over 45 yards from another score. Quarterback Brandon Turman found room where his running backs hadn't and put his team on the 18. Wingback Jeremy McGahee snuck into the left corner of the end zone with 2:31 left before halftime to make the score 13-3.

In the third quarter, Thomson fullback James Bonner broke free for a 56-yard run to the Hart County 4-yard line, the Bulldogs were stuffed on four straight plays.

Hart County was forced to punt from their own end zone, giving Thomson excellent field position, 34-yards from the third score of the game. Four plays later, Turman dropped back from the 16-yard line and found sophomore receiver Nick Rau toeing the back line of the end zone with 9:11 left in the game.

"I was ready to catch a pass," Rau said. "I told the quarterback before the pass to watch me. I was going to be open."

Meanwhile, Thomson's players are preparing for the showdown in Statesboro.

Darius Eubanks, one of the defensive stars for the Bulldogs, believes the Bulldogs can pull out another big victory come this weekend.

"We're coming back with win number three," said Eubanks.

Web posted on Thursday, September 18, 2008

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