LINCOLNTON, Ga. -- It was one of the more exciting scrimmages played between the Thomson High Bulldogs and Lincoln County Red Devils this past Friday.
With just nine seconds to play in a game tied at 14-14, Lincoln County senior running back Tavious McGahee took a pitch-out from junior quarterback Franklin Sherman and raced into the end zone untouched from six yards out with the winning touchdown.
Thomson head coach Luther Welsh said he was pleased with his team's overall performance.
"I thought we played decent at times," coach Welsh said. "Then there were times when we didn't play so well, too. That concerns me. We're going to work on some things before we start the season -- that's for sure."
Regular season play begins this week for many prep football teams, but Thomson won't be one of them. After an open date Friday, the Bulldogs will entertain the Washington-Wilkes Tigers at The Brickyard in Thomson on Friday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
The 20-14 victory by Lincoln County came despite a valiant effort by Thomson junior quarterback Phillip Anderson and junior wide receiver Nick Rau, who linked up on two long pass completions before the final buzzer at Buddy Buford Field in Lincolnton. The passes got the Bulldogs to the Red Devils' 24 where the game ended.
It looked to be a tied finish, but Lincoln County junior quarterback Garrett Mohr picked apart Thomson's pass coverage after a punt by the Bulldogs' Anderson. The winning touchdown drive started at the Red Devils' 16. A pass interference call against Thomson on third down and 13 from the 25 provided breathing room for Lincoln County. From there, Mohr and his offense went to work.
First, Mohr hit Steven Moss on a pass play to get the Red Devils to the Thomson 47. An errant pass was nearly intercepted by Thomson's Jacoby Crawford before Bond Turner caught a Mohr pass to give the Red Devils another first down at the Bulldogs' 34. Mohr then hit Keestan Wynn to get Lincoln County to the 18. The quarterback ran through an open hole to the 6, and McGahee scored on the next play.
The Red Devils struck for the first touchdown, which came on a 90-yard TD pass from Sherman to Wynn at 5:06 in the first quarter.
Just before Lincoln County scored, Thomson threatened on their first possession. Dontavius "Juicy" Brown rushed for big yards both times he touched the football. His longest run of 25 yards, however, was nullified on a holding call. Josh Jones, the team's backup quarterback and starting wide receiver, later caught a pass from Anderson that helped the Bulldogs get to Lincoln County's 46-yard line. The drive stalled and Anderson punted.
Thomson's next possession ended the same way. But they got a big break when the Red Devils fumbled at their 17 and Thomson's Jacoby Crawford recovered with 3:46 to play in the first quarter.
Brown later caught a pass from Anderson for 11 yards before the quarterback hit Aaron Johnson to get the Bulldogs to the 1. Jarcques Kendrick burst up the middle to pay dirt on the next play. Jay Bieltz kicked the extra point to knot the game at 7-7.
The Red Devils broke the tie with their second TD on a 2-yard run by McGahee with 2:55 left in the second quarter.
Lincoln County led 14-7 at halftime, but Thomson wasn't finished.
A big defensive play again helped them as Omar Lewis recovered a fumble with 4:55 to play in the third quarter. From the Lincoln County 34, Josh Jones spelled Anderson at quarterback. Aaron Johnson, a sophomore, burst to the outside and rambled 36 yards for a touchdown. Bieltz, a senior, added the extra point to tie.