Friday night, Thomson earned the right to be called top dog in Region 3-AAA. Thomson beat the Harlem Bulldogs earlier in the season, and Friday topped the Butler Bulldogs in the Brickyard 6-3.
Butler nearly spoiled Thomson's chances, but a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter gave the home team a slim win and the top playoff spot.
Thomson's Orlando Johnson gets wrapped up on a punt return against Butler.
Thomson (9-1, 6-0) dominated time of possession and offensive yardage in the first half, but neither team could manage to put points on the board. Penalties and fumbles kept Thomson from gaining any momentum.
"I told them we had to pick it up, and they had to do it. The defense was doing all the work," Coach Welsh said, summarizing his halftime speech. "The defense played well throughout the ballgame."
Thomson nearly scored on the first drive of the game that started on its 34. Quarterback Dan Ivey ran the ball five times in the drive to the Butler 12 yard line. Clifton Belton nearly had a touchdown but fumbled on the 1, and Butler recovered in the end zone.
Butler (5-5, 4-2) then proceeded to punt the ball on three straight possessions. Thomson managed 143 yards of rushing in the first half while holding Butler to 9 yards. But the Thomson offense stalled in Butler territory late in the half, and Vincent Scott missed a 38 yard field goal attempt.
"Our offense kind of faltered a little bit, and at times they looked pretty good," Coach Welsh said. "But we just couldn't be consistent."
Butler only managed 84 yards of total offense in the game, but got within field goal range early in the third quarter. Cody Swartz hit a 22-yard attempt to give Butler the 3-0 lead.
Thomson's touchdown came with 6:31 left in the game on a 4-yard Wilson run. Belton and Wilson got Thomson within scoring range on long runs during the drive. Wilson piled up 110 yards on 20 carries during the game.
"We weren't playing up to our potential in the first half, and in the second half we came out and played like we wanted it." Wilson said. "I give all the credit to my people up front and my other backs."
After a tie-breaker mini game Monday night to decide which teams from Region 3-AAA South were going to the playoffs, Thomson was declared Region champs. South Effingham will be the two seed, Glenn Hills is no. 3 and Jefferson County will be the four seed.
Thomson's first round opponent in the state playoffs will be the fourth place team from Region 1, Westover (4-6, 2-3). The Patriots come to the Brickyard having handily defeated Monroe and Worth County, the Region 1 bottom dwellers.
Westover fell to Cairo, Crisp County and Dougherty, the top three finishers in the region. The Patriots have been outscored by opponents this season by a total of 215-218. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 257-78. The winner will face the winner of the Troup-Washington County game.