The friendly confines of The Brickyard await its beloved Thomson High Bulldogs again this Friday night.
But unlike the past football games this season, this week's game is the biggest of the season.
For the Bulldogs will be playing in their first state playoff game in two years when they host Worth County for a 7:30 p.m. showdown in the first-round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAA state playoffs.
"It's great to be back in the state playoffs," said Thomson head coach Luther Welsh. "We weren't in the playoffs last year, so this really means a lot to our players, us as coaches and our fans."
Coach Welsh, who is retiring at the end of this season, said it's a testament of just how far the Bulldogs' football program has come in the past year.
"We weren't a very good football team a year ago," admitted coach Welsh. "This year, it all seemed to come together. We are a much better team than we were last year. And for that, I'm very proud of these players."
Last year, the Bulldogs finished with a dismal mark of 2-8. This year, they completely turned it around. And just a week ago, they played the Burke County Bears for the Region 3-AAA championship.
"Even though we didn't win the region title, I thought it said a lot about the character of our players and how far they have come in a year's time," added coach Welsh. "These boys have really worked mighty hard to get where they have gotten this year. I'm proud of them."
As for the upcoming game against Worth County, who finished the regular season with a 6-4 record, coach Welsh believes his team will be up for the challenge. "I don't know how the game will end up, but I hope we've got more points on the scoreboard than they do when the game has ended," said coach Welsh.