Thomson Coach Luther Welsh said his players weren't as pumped up for Friday's game against Butler as they were the week before against Glenn Hills. But by the score, no one would ever have known.
After blowing out Glenn Hills 63-0, the Thomson Bulldogs took on fellow 3-AAA North Bulldogs from Butler and gave them a similar spanking with a 54-0 win.
Thomson's LaBrandon Hudson runs in to the endzone as a Butler player dives to stop him.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
"Our first group was a little sluggish," Coach Welsh said. "I can stand that up to a point, but overall they did a pretty good job for a game like this. ‚Ä¶They played good enough to win."
Orlando Johnson was nearly unstoppable for Thomson (9-1, 6-0) with three punt returns for touchdowns. Butler's line drive punts from helped him to returns of 65, 61 and 62 yards. The final one came with 5:59 remaining on the fourth quarter running clock, but all of them came as a shock to Johnson.
"I came out here sick and everything," he said. "I didn't think I was going to play like I did."
After going up 21-0 early in the second quarter, Thomson stalled at the Butler 35. Butler (2-8, 1-5) then went three and out.
Thomson's LaBrandon Hudson took off for 19 yards and a first down on the first play of the next drive. Quarterback Jerrell McNair found a wide open Kyle Franklin for a 54-yard score that put Thomson up 27-0 with 1:40 remaining before halftime.
Hudson added 143 rushing yards on 18 carries that helped him reach a milestone in the game. That yardage put him over the 1,000 yard mark in the regular season. But he didn't take any of the credit for his success.
"It feels great, man. I have to give it all to my offensive line, my backs, the defense and all the other players that helped me get to this point," he said.
The win gave Thomson a share of the region championship and the second seed in the playoffs. The three seed from Region 4-AAA, Washington County (7-3, 4-2), will visit the Brickyard this week in the opening round.
"I feel real good about going into the playoffs, the way we've played the last three games and blown them out," Johnson said.
Coach Welsh thinks despite the so-called down year for Washington County, they will still be an imposing opponent.
"They're going to be tough for us. They're probably going to be the toughest game we've played all year long because they're a pretty good football team," Coach Welsh said.
"They've always been good. Of course he (Rick Tomberlin) says he's not as good as he has been. He's still good. He may not be as good as he has been, but my gosh he's won state championships, region championships and everything else up until this year. He may be a little weaker, but he's still good."
Thomson's Josh Thomas tackles a Butler runner.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
As for being ready for the playoffs, Coach Welsh said the Bulldogs should be healed up and looking forward to taking on the challenge in The Brickyard.
"I think we're ready to go," he said after the Butler game. "All of us are well, and I hope we don't get anyone hurt next week. ‚Ä¶We kept some kids out tonight to make sure that they're ready to go next week."
Thomson 54, Glenn Hills 0
Star of the game: Orlando Johnson ran back three punt returns for touchdowns accounting for 18 of the Bulldogs' 54 points.
Play of the game: On the first play of an eventual late third quarter scoring drive, LaBrandon Hudson broke free for an 8-yard gain that put him past 1,000 yards on the regular season. He ended the game at 1,014.
Up next: Thomson plays host to Region 4-AAA three seed Washington County tomorrow. Game time is 7:30 p.m.