Since 1948, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, the Thomson Bulldogs, led by 12 different coaches, have a record of 488-199-20.
That's a winning percentage of more than 70 percent.
There are many reasons for this great tradition. We've had several fine coaches. We have had people in leadership roles in our county school systems who realize the importance of this tradition in our community. This includes board members, superintendents and principals.
You may ask what they had to do with it. I would answer that question by saying that they supported the program as much as practical, but more important, didn't take actions that would deter its continued success. Ask any coach, and he will tell you that has happened in a lot of places.
Without a doubt, part of the success we have had is because of great high school football players. This doesn't mean they all went on to great success in the college or professional ranks. Representing their communities to the best of their abilities meant something to these young men. For many, it's a family tradition.
The Williams family is part of that tradition in McDuffie County. J.B. Williams played varsity football at Thomson High School from 1964-66. Though he never played on a state championship team, he was part of building toward the excellence we later experienced after he graduated. Under Coach Paul Leroy, our record was 25-5-1 during those seasons, setting the stage for back-to-back state championships in 1967 and 1968.
J.B., who played halfback and defensive back, is described by his high school coach as having been tough, dependable, very coachable, and a hard worker.
J.B.'s oldest son, John, started at nose guard, despite weighing only 185 pounds, on the 2001 team and the 2002 state champion Bulldogs. His position coach during those years was current Thomson High defensive coordinator Lee Hutto. Hutto says he loved coaching John. He was a tough, very coachable, old-school football player and a major part of our team who succeeded despite being undersized for a defensive lineman.
After last season, Thomson High varsity kicking coach Chris Hodges was greatly concerned as to who would take over the place-kicking chores with the departure of exchange student Talles Cordosa. The young man who emerged with the job was J.B. Williams' youngest son, Jared, who, like his father, wears No. 22.
Hodges describes Jared as a hard worker who is coachable and mentally tough. According to Hodges, Jared has the mental toughness necessary to be successful. Through three games, he is one of the leading scorers in the area and made several high-pressure kicks in our recent victory against Washington County.
I see a pattern. The three Williamses who have worn the black and gold are described by three coaches as tough, coachable, dependable and hard-working. Those attributes are a must for success and will carry you further than talent at the high school level.