Dexter Sneed may have picked up a few things from his older brother Deltrick through the years, both having played defensive end for the Thomson High School Bulldogs. But the most important thing the junior picked up last Friday night was the football - something his brother had a tendency to do when he suited up last year.
Dexter recovered a pair of fumbles in the first half that led to scoring drives for the Bulldogs against the Benedictine Cadets of Savannah in The Brickyard. Those recoveries and a red zone sack on a fourth down helped Thomson to a 41-21 victory in the Bulldogs' second Region 3-AAA crossover game of the season.
"I just ran, did my play to find the football and went and picked the ball up," Dexter said after the game. "I thought it was great, but I wish I could have scored (like my brother), though."
Two Thomson running backs shared the spotlight, offensively. Fullback James Bonner scored twice in the first quarter on short runs and once on a 65-yard kickoff return with just a couple of seconds left before the first half ended. Wingback Jeremy McGahee added touchdown runs of 34 and 17 yards in the game, as well.
After the first quarter, the Bulldogs had racked up a 21-0 lead behind Sneed's fumble recoveries deep in Cadet territory. In the second quarter, the Benedictine passing game found its footing and the end zone with only 18 seconds remaining to be played in the first half.
Benedictine quarterback A.J. Defilippis ended up 9-of-16 in the passing department for a total of 107 yards. The Cadets' final score of the game was evidence of their passing proficiency - coming on a 67-yard strike to running back Caleb Collins.
"We played alright," Sneed said of the defensive effort against Benedictine. "But we'll come back strong on the defensive backfield (this week)."
Bonner broke free on a 69-yard touchdown run with 5:03 left in the third quarter to put the Bulldogs up 34-14. He finished the game with 159 yards rushing on 19 carries. Thomson's final touchdown was on a 17-yard run by McGahee, who compiled 72 rushing yards in the game.
The undefeated Thomson Bulldogs will play host to the Butler High Bulldogs of Augusta on Friday night in The Brickyard.
Thus far this season, the confines of The Brickyard has been a friendly place for the Thomson Bulldogs and you can bet that Coach Luther Welsh and his staff want to ensure it stays that way as long as possible.
Thomson, now 4-0-1 following their win over Benedictine of Savannah last week in The Brickyard, will be looking to notch their second sub-region win of the season when they clash with Butler. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
"I thought Benedictine was a much improved team over last year," Coach Welsh said. "They have a good quarterback. They threw the ball well. They're definitely a team on the rebound."
Even though Butler hasn't won a game this season, Coach Welsh isn't taking them lightly and he stressed that same message to his players at practice this week.
"You never know when a team might get a spark," Coach Welsh said. "Remember the Tennessee/Georgia college football this past weekend?"
Coach Welsh said it's important to be "mentally ready to play any opponent, regardless of their record. You can never take any team lightly."
During the upcoming game against Butler, Thomson will be playing several young players - some of them freshmen, due to injuries to several veteran players.
Two of the latest injuries occurred in the Benedictine game. Steadman Grant and Stantwaun Morris, both received concussions during that game. Morris got the worst of the concussions, having to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson following the game, according to Coach Welsh.
Morris later was released from the hospital. However, neither of them will play in the Butler game.
"We had to put several young players in the game because we had so many of our regular players hurt," Coach Welsh said. "And we're going to have to do the same thing on Friday night when we play Butler. With Grant and Morris out, it just adds two more to our wounded list."
As a whole, he said he thought the young players did a pretty good job, considering their ages and the fact that they have little experience or no experience at all playing on the varsity level.
"The more they're around it, the more mentally adjusted they will become," Coach Welsh said. "We'll just have to try to hold our own until some of our players get better and back."
Thomson 41, Benedictine 21
Star of the game: Thomson defensive end Dexter Sneed recovered two fumbles deep in Cadet territory that led to scoring drives.
Play of the game: Thomson's James Bonner returned a squib kick 65yards for the score with 0:02 remaining before halftime.
What's next: Thomson (4-0-1) plays host Butler (0-5) Friday night.