Four Thomson youth football teams kicked off their season Saturday in Augusta in a Georgia PAC 12 AYF Jamboree.
Each year the jamboree draws more than 5,000 spectators during the course of the event and this year again exceeded that headcount.
The youth football league is now starting its fourth season, but the roots of the program can be traced back to Thomson.
Both Jermain Hudson, the league commissioner, and Marcus Hill, assistant commissioner, began coaching youth athletics many years ago through the Thomson-McDuffie Recreation Department.
“We both came from the rec department. I put in about 17 years out there and he put in 17 or 18 years out there,” said Hudson.
Hudson, a Warren County High School graduate, said the first kids he coached in 1996 went on to be on the 2002 Thomson High School state championship football team.
Saturday’s jamboree at Laney opens the season for the league, which is comprised of two divisions.
“I’ve got 42 teams in my division,” Hudson said.
The northern division includes players from McDuffie, Richmond, Columbia,Warren and Baldwin counties. The southern division is centered around the Hinesville and Savannah areas.
Now post jamboree, the teams will face off on Saturdays at different high school stadiums in Richmond County.
“I have access to all the Richmond County high school stadiums and I just choose which stadiums they play at each week. I’m running three to four different stadiums each weekend,” Hudson explained.
He said the Thomson teams are now in their third year and twice have approached the school board here about using The Brickyard.
“We’ve been trying to get the Brickyard, but they won’t let us,” he said. “I would like to use The Brickyard, It would be a nice showcase for those kids that come out there.”
He said he plans to approach the McDuffie County Board of Education to see if in the future he could arrange for the Thomson teams to play at the stadium.
Hudson said the Thomson teams do well in the league each year.
“They’re always in the top two or top three every season,” he said.
Last year two of the Thomson teams won the championship.
“We definitely have great participation from them every year,” Hudson said.
The Georgia PAC 12 AYF is for players ages 4 to 14.