The Thomson boys soccer team narrowly lost to Grovetown 1-0 in a hard-fought regional game at Grovetown on March 31.
"Both teams played really hard tonight," Thomson head coach Zach Tucker said after the game. "Both teams deserved to win. They just had the one play that went in, and we just weren't able to get a shot in. That was a game where, if we played that game against that team 10 times, they'd win five and we'd win five. It was that close."
The Bulldogs played the region-leading Warriors to a stalemate in the first half, with neither team able to generate a goal.
"Gentlemen, you've played an absolutely nearly flawless first half," Tucker told his team at the half. "Keep it going in the second. Our chances have been there, and they will be there again. You have been doing everything exactly right. Just keep doing what you're doing, keep pressuring, keep countering, keep going. That will be the key to this game."
The Bulldogs executed nearly as perfectly in the second half, holding the Warriors scoreless until 24 minutes and 43 seconds into the half, when Grovetown squeezed one into the net for the only goal of the game.
Thomson responded with increasing pressure, driving the ball down the field for several shots on goal right up to the final seconds of the game.
"I think we played really well tonight," assistant coach Brad Adams said after the game. "Grovetown's undefeated in the region, and they've been scoring seven to 10 goals a game against everybody. So, 1-0, that just shows that we're good, too.
"Our guys played real hard tonight, I'm really impressed with their effort. Now I'm just looking forward to the final two region games and securing a spot in the playoffs."
The players weren't disappointed in their efforts, either. Smiles and congratulations among players after the game made it evident they felt they'd played well against the highest ranked team in the region.
"This was an excellent game for both teams," Tucker said. "It was our best game all season, by far.
"Unfortunately, we just didn't get the goal that we needed. But our guys played very well. John Holloway, in the middle, was once again just fantastic, and Sherrod Hart, also in the middle, did a very good job, stepping up and shutting down their shots throughout the game. John John (Atkins) at goalie had some very nice saves. The one goal that Grovetown scored, there was absolutely nothing he could have done to stop that.
"Marcus Ricketson at sweeper and Justin Bettross at midfield and forward also played very, very well. And you can add the rest of the team to that list, too. They all gave everything they had."
THS (7-2) will be at Josey on Monday.