Win or lose, the football season at Thomson High School will come to an end this Friday night at The Brickyard.
The Bulldogs, who have a dismal 2-7 record overall, will play host to the Baldwin Braves of Milledgeville.
And again, Luther Welsh will guide the Bulldogs into battle.
This year, unlike any other at Thomson, coach Welsh is having to cope with a losing season and the fact that his team has been eliminated from the playoff picture.
Because the Bulldogs haven't played well this season, critics claim it's time for coach Welsh to retire.
But the 77-year-old coach Welsh balks such people, saying he'll be the one to make such a decision -- not his critics.
"I'm going to decide what I want to do over the Christmas holidays," coach Welsh told The McDuffie Mirror during an interview on Monday. "I'll have plenty of time to think about what I want to do then and that's when I'll make my decision."
He plans to make his decision while on his farm near Bishopville, S.C.
Coach Welsh, who first came to Thomson in 1984, helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back Class AAA state championships in '84 and 1985. His 2002 football team won the Class AAAA state crown. No other football coach in the history of the school has won three state titles.
"We've had a lot of successful seasons during my two stints at Thomson," said coach Welsh.
"I'm very proud of the success I've had at Thomson. I still have the energy to coach right now."
But when it comes to a decision on whether to continue coaching Bulldogs, coach Welsh is noncommittal.
"Right now I'm just not ready to say," coach Welsh said. "I really just don't know, yet."
As for his critics, coach Welsh said he doesn't let their beliefs bother him one iota.
"I don't even pay people like them any attention," coach Welsh said. "They may as well be looking at the sky. I don't worry about what outside people say. In fact, they're wasting their time, if they think they can get to me."
Coach Welsh has been coaching prep football in Georgia and South Carolina for the past 53 years.
"Over the years, high school has been good to me," he pointed out. "We just hit one of those years where the season hasn't been very good. But the players have done the best they could do."
Coach Welsh said his team has endured the toughest schedules in the school's history over the past two seasons.
Last year, the Bulldogs made it to the second round of the Class AAA playoffs, eventually losing to LaGrange.