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Sports Talk: The romance of high school football

The Thomson Bulldogs turned the tables on the old seeding game with a big 28-14 victory over Jackson in round one of the state playoffs. Whether it wipes away the frustration of previous early round exits for the Bulldogs can be debated, but it looked like the coaches and players were enjoying themselves Saturday night.

Like Jackson this year, Thomson for years has been running up impressive regular season records against inferior competition. Like Jackson this year, that false sense of accomplishment often bit them in the fanny come playoff time. The brutal schedule that Thomson played obviously paid off, as the Bulldogs were far superior to the Red Devils.

I really enjoyed seeing Thomson's coaching staff and team soaking in a big win. They really deserve it after the grueling schedule that they played. Speaking of schedules, did you notice that Thomson's Region 3-AAA went 3-1 in the playoffs with only Washington County losing? On the other hand, the all Richmond/Columbia county Region 3-AAAA went 0-4. Of course, this region is composed of most of Thomson's former opponents.

I've been on the road every weekend this fall chasing football games and this weekend turned out to be one of the wackiest ever. I arrived in Jackson Friday afternoon about 6 p.m. in the midst of a real monsoon. I got the word a few minutes later that the game had been postponed until Saturday night. My traveling buddy and I deadheaded on toward Newnan where we had accommodations for the night.

While traveling through the dense fog at a snail's pace, we mulled over the possibility of catching another game in that area. Since we were passing through Griffin, we considered that Glenn Hills was playing at Griffin. I weighed the pros and cons of going to that game and could think of one great reason to go, it was a football game.

On the other hand I was afraid people I know would find out that I went to a Glenn Hills game. Glenn Hills is an Augusta school and Glenn Hills is, well, Glenn Hills. 'Nuff said. We passed right by the stadium and waved goodbye to the lights through the fog. Oh, by the way, according to media reports, final score: Griffin 26, Glenn Hills 0.

On Saturday morning, we headed on to Auburn, and I got there in time to get a parking spot that I thought I could get out of in a hurry after the game. I was mulling in my head the idea of rushing back to Jackson to see the Thomson game. I knew I would have less than 2 hours to travel the 114 miles, likely in heavy traffic, to make kickoff in Jackson.

After enduring Georgia's win over Auburn, we hustled to the car and got out of Alabama in good order. Without a few road construction delays and a slowpoke somewhere in rural Coweta County I could have actually made kickoff. As it were, I arrived just as Thomson went up 14-7 in the middle of the second quarter. It was the most fun two and one-half quarters of football I have watched in a long time because I saw Thomson kids enjoying the game of football. I took in a real Bulldog doubleheader on Saturday.

This Saturday Thomson moves on in the playoffs with a 6 p.m. matchup with perennial powerhouse LaGrange High School. This is a game that no true Thomson fan will want to miss.

LaGrange has lost only to Class AAAAA Newnan 31-10 in the season opener and defending AAA state champion Carver-Columbus 24-0 in their region championship game. The Grangers will be a stiff challenge and the Bulldogs need our support.

Please do not find reasons not to go to LaGrange on Saturday. Gasoline is now well below $2 per gallon, so travel while you can. The route to LaGrange is easy, all interstate. Callaway Stadium is a beautiful facility with plenty of good seating and a Sprinturf artificial grass field. Thomson has the opportunity to compete against one of the state's best programs.

Saturday is our anniversary, and I'm going to take Pam to the football game. That makes us both happy: she gets to spend time with me and I get to watch more football.

Heck, we might even stay in a hotel, a cheap one with free breakfast.

She'll really be surprised when she learns of these plans in the newspaper.

Don't tell her before then.

Web posted on Thursday, November 20, 2008

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