Two different Thomson Bulldog teams showed up to take on the visiting Josey Eagles Friday night. The first-half team played to a 9-6 deficit and the second-half team scored 36 unanswered points to take a 42-9 win and improve their record to 7-1 for the season.
"We didn't play that bad the first half; we just missed some tackles. ... We tackled better in the second half and our kids played hard. I am proud of them," said assistant head coach John Barnett.
Quarterback Josh Jones threw for 195 yards with two TD's. One of those that seemed to spark the Bulldogs was a 12-yard pass to Jonathan Atkins on their first possession of the second half. Atkins who normally lines up at right tackle lined up as an eligible receiver at tight end and was wide open on the throw.
"Their slant man was on our other dude and I went up under him," said Atkins describing his first career TD.
Josey got on the board first with a 3-yard run by QB Markquis Burton. Jonathan Geter booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead. The Eagle defense held the Bulldogs and Josey marched down to the five before the Bulldogs forced a 22-yard field goal by Geter with 2:35 left in the half.
Josh Jones then led the Bulldogs down to the Eagle 2 yard line where he punched it in. Talles Cardosa missed only his second PAT of the season and the half ended with the score 9-6.
After the break it was all Thomson. After Atkins score Thomson forced a punt and took over on their own 30. Jones took a hard blindside sack then on the next play scampered 21-yards for a first down. Jones then hit Jacoby Crawford several plays later for a score with 4:29 left in the third. The Cardosa kick made it 20-9.
Josey took the kickoff at the 30 then went backward on a couple of penalties and an 8-yard loss on a QB sack. Punting from their 7, Ronald Jackson took it at the 36 and returned it 16 yards to the 20. A nice 8-yard run by Dontavis Brown was capped several plays later on a 4-yard scoring run by Brown with :45 left in the third. The Cardosa kick made the score 27-9.
Thomson forced an Eagle punt on their next possession and the ball sailed over the punter's head and was recovered for a safety.
Kicking from their 10 after an unsportsmanlike on the Eagles, the Bulldogs had another short field after returning it to the 13. Demarquiz Lampkin later scored on a 3-yard run, the kicked failed and Thomson led 35-9.
The last TD for Thomson was a 28-yard run by Lampkin with. The Cardosa kick was good for a final score of 42-9.
PLAYOFF PICTURE BECOMES CLEARER
The Bulldogs will play for the region championship at Burke County on Nov. 5. They will also be playing the first round of the state playoffs at home against an as yet unnamed opponent.