Despite a lack of offensive touchdowns in the first half of the game, the Thomson Bulldogs defeated the T.W. Josey Eagles Friday night with a score of 54-7.
Both teams struggled throughout the first quarter, with every drive ending in either a punt or a turnover.
On their first two drives of the game, Thomson fumbled twice, with Josey recovering the ball both times. The Josey quarterback fumbled on the first play of the next drive, and Thomson recovered.
At the end of the quarter, quarterback Josh Jones ran the ball 18 yards for a first down, the first of the game for either team. On the next play, a Josey player intercepted Jones' pass, wrapping up the scoreless first quarter.
With 10:48 remaining in the half, the Bulldogs got on the board when Torrie Battle returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown. Jared Williams' extra point attempt was no good, making it 6-0 Thomson.
Strong safety Kentrell Reynolds returned two interceptions for touchdowns in each of Josey's next drives. Reynolds said he played his best game of the year.
"I was happy I could help pick the team up when the offense was down," he said.
Josey scored its first and only touchdown of the night after a series of quarterback keeper plays, passes and a Thomson offsides penalty.
Battle immediately returned the Josey kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown with 50.5 seconds left in the half, which ended with a score of 25-7 Thomson.
At halftime, head coach Milan Turner told the Bulldogs to put the sloppy first half behind them and focus on the rest of the game.
"Games like that are bound to happen, and I'm proud of how they responded in the second half," Turner said. "You've got to be prepared in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams - and sometimes one part has to pick up the slack."
At the start of the second half, the Bulldogs' offense scored on a 1-yard run by Ladricus Bonner and remained strong.
They scored again on a 16-yard pass from Jones to Battle, who was wide open crossing the field. With 5:05 left in the third quarter, Battle returned yet another punt for a touchdown, making it 47-7 Bulldogs.
The last score of the night came after an unrelenting Thomson drive down the field, resulting in a 42-yard pass from Jones to running back Chris Jordan.
The Bulldogs close the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Brickyard, playing host to the Grovetown Warriors. The Bulldogs are undefeated in Region 3 Class 3A, and are 8-0 for the season.