Seven Bulldogs scored points in the Thomson’s 61-21 win over the Tattnall County Warriors in the first round of the Class AAA Playoffs.
THS scored the first three TDs and never trailed as the Dogs rolled up 518 yards of total offense.
The win advanced the 10th ranked Dogs to the Sweet 16 playoff round that will see Thomson visit the No. 3-ranked Peach County Trojans Friday night at Anderson Stadium in Fort Valley.
The Warriors took the opening kickoff and drove to the Thomson 22 after THS mishandled a Warrior punt.
The Dogs stopped the nearly 8-minute possession and after a punt, took four plays before Kindarius Green scored on a 5-yard run. The score was set up by an 83-yard haul by quarterback Tay Martin.
The Bulldog defense turned up the tempo on the Warrior’s next possession when Jaquan Hart picked up a punt blocked by Xzavian Williams at the Warrior 10. Two plays later, Martin gathered in an errant snap and found Jahkius Jones open for a 12-yard scoring pass.
The Warriors next possession saw their longest drive of the night from their 25 to the THS 17 before they fumbled to the Dogs at the 2-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Lilvasco Winfrey bolted right and then blazed 98 yards for a touchdown.
After Tattnall scored on a 45-yard run by Tracy Coley, the Bulldogs went up 28-7 on a 10-yard pass from Martin to Winfrey.
Thomson took the ball first in the second half and three plays later, Jordan Lane ran 47-yards for the score.
The Dogs added TDs by Ashton Perry (18-yard pass from Martin), Winfrey (16-yard run), Travion Curry (1-yard run), and a 98-yard kickoff return by Jordan Lane. Thomson did not go for the extra point, as head coach Michael Youngblood said he felt bad the Dogs had run a touchdown back after the game was out of hand.
Tattnall’s two late TDs in a running-clock fourth quarter came against THS reserves on runs of 1- and 8-yards by Coley and Tyler Jinks.
“We were pumped up, but we took a while to get untracked and locked-in,” said Perry, a junior wide receiver and linebacker. “We got chewed out in the locker room and that helped bring us around. Our intensity level went up and we played a lot better the second half.”
Quan Rogers, a junior running back and defensive end, said scoring a lot of points came after a slow start.
“Early we came out unfocused and just not sharp,” he said. ”We made some adjustments and discovered we had to turn it up a notch for things to really start happening. The game is a learning experience and I had some good plays tonight and learned how important it is to keep trying.”
Winfrey led the offensive charge for Thomson with 211 all-purpose yards and three TDs. Lane had 155 total yards and two TDs.
Tattnall fumbled the ball six times, losing three to the THS defense.
Leading the Bulldog defense was Kurtis Cummings with 12 tackles, 9 of those solo. Next Was Green, with 11 tackles, six of those solo. Rogers forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles for the Dogs.
Youngblood cited some shortcomings in the runaway win, including special team blunders and the defense not clicking well at times.
“Winning our first playoff game was great and I am proud of the kids for that,” he said. “We are seeking perfection. In that, we aren’t doing some things up to the standard that we want, and we have to keep on moving toward being our best.”
THS’ second playoff round opponent has a 8-2 record with their only loss being to Northside Warner Robins in the first game of the year. On Friday night, the Trojans, Region 2-No. 1 seed, shutout Johnson of Savannah 47-0. You can bet Chad Campbell will have his Trojans trying to play the part of dog catcher.
“They are very physical all over the field,” said Youngblood. “They run the spread offense and they like to run, but will throw screens. They will jump in a bunch of different sets and are good at skill positions.”
The coach said on defense, the Trojans remind him of Lee County. Peach will use the three-man front primarily, but if the opposing offense is too successful, they will slide to a 5-man front.
“They try to make life miserable, and they will blitz and blitz hard,” Youngblood said. “We have to find formations that will give them problems and we have to do a good job reading and throwing. If you truly want to be a state title contender, you’ve got to go through Peach County.”
The two teams have met five times, with Thomson winning once, a 20-17 win in 1974.
Peach County cancelled the last regular season game against Central of Macon after all Peach County High School varsity football activities and practices were suspended due to a positive COVID-19 test result for one of the football players.
In the end, Youngblood said his team will have to play a near perfect game.
“We’ve got to play like we did the first quarter against Burke, but we have to play that way four quarters,” he said of the rivalry game Thomson won 30-23.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. (this is out of the norm time for THS game starts) and tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Peach County gate on Friday or online at https://gofan.co/app/events/171410.