Cross Creek came out gunning for Thomson, and the passes kept finding their target. Razorback quarterback Donald Hudson connected on 13 of 22 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the game, but came up just short of a win in the Brickyard Friday.
The Bulldogs (4-1, 3-0) found the end zone five times in the game to post a 34-28 victory over Cross Creek (1-4, 0-3). Thomson was glad to get the Region 3N-AAA win, but had trouble stopping the passing efficiency of the Razorbacks.
Thomson's Kwynta "D.T." Brown follows the block of Michael Paul around the end for a gain in the second half against Cross Creek.
"Defensively it was about time for them to have a down game I guess. They've been playing excellent defense up to this point," said Thomson Coach Luther Welsh. "...It's just a blessing that the offense picked it up and made some things happen."
Thomson Defensive Coordinator John Barnett said it was "back to the drawing board" for the pass defense after the game. He was disappointed with the sporadic coverage.
"I was pleased that we stopped them when we had to," he said. "...But we just played in spurts. We've got to get more consistent on that pass defense, that's for sure."
Cross Creek quarterback Donald Hudson dropped back to pass with under 1:00 to go in the game, trailing Thomson by 13. He found his target, receiver Max Moore, and 27 yards later, Razorbacks were within six points.
But Cross Creek touched the ball on the ensuing on-side kick before it traveled 10 yards. That penalty gave the ball to the Bulldogs who took two knees to preserve the win over their sub-region opponent after being down by 14 in the second half.
Thomson defensive back / running back Orlando Johnson said being down 21-7 in the third quarter helped spur him to play harder on offense, defense and special teams.
Thomson's Damion Burnett celebrates his touchdown catch against Cross Creek.
Johnson rushed five times for 28 yards in the game, covered receivers on defense and returned both kickoffs and punts. On one of those punt returns he went 49-yards to the Cross Creek 1 which set up the game-tying touchdown late in the third quarter.
"I felt like when we were down, I needed to get in the game and step it up," he said. "I feel like I'm an impact player on both sides of the ball. So I mean I'm going to have some ups and downs, but I feel like I've got to get out there and do it."
After Cross Creek's first passing score, the Bulldogs wasted no time in answering. Anthony "Pooh" Erwin fielded the kickoff and blew past defenders to the Cross Creek 39-yard line. Five plays later, Thomson fullback LaBrandon Hudson blasted up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown run with 0:47 left in the first quarter.
Hudson led the Thomson offense with 23 carries for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Kwynta "D.T." Brown added 10 rushes for 74 yards which included a 34-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 34-21 with 2:25 left in the game.
Erwin was 2-3 passing with 21 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to Damion Burnett to pull the Bulldogs within seven late in the third quarter.
"Really, in the second half, we played like I thought we should have played in the start of the ballgame," Coach Welsh said. "Now what caused that in the first half, I don't have an answer."
Next up for Thomson is another set of Region 3N-AAA Bulldogs, the next door neighbors from Harlem (3-2, 2-1). Harlem upset AAAA rival Evans 13-6 to start the season then fell to Hancock Central and Jefferson County.
Harlem bounced back for a 19-0 win over Richmond Hill then slammed Richmond Academy 49-18 with 449 yards on the ground. Thomson's traditionally strong run defense may be tested against Harlem which lost 35-7 in the Brickyard last year on the way to a 3-7 season.
Thomson 34, Cross Creek 28
Star of the game: LaBrandon Hudson rushed 23 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns against Cross Creek.
Play of the game: Orlando Johnson returned a punt 49 yards to the Cross Creek 1-yard line while Thomson was down 21-14 late in the third quarter. The return set up a Thomson score that tied the game at 21 going in the final frame.
Up next: Thomson (4-1, 3-0) travels to Harlem (3-2, 2-1). Game time is 7:30 p.m.