The Thomson Bulldogs were able to stay with the Lee County Trojans early in the game, but ended up losing 55-13 Friday night in Leesburg.
The defending state champion Class 6-A Trojans celebrated their homecoming and handed the Class AAAA Bulldogs their fourth straight loss.
“They came after us with the blitz and other things, and we knew they would,” said Thomson head coach Michael Youngblood, agreeing that after the second quarter, the game snowballed in Lee County’s favor. “They kicked our tail up front. It was a tough ballgame and there is a reason they are defending state champs … they were a mixture of the tough teams we have played thus far.”
Thomson will have Friday night open and will prepare for their first Region 3-AAAA game at Baldwin County Oct. 18.
Lee County scored in the first minute of the game on a 64-yard run by Caleb McDowell. Later in the first quarter, quarterback Kyle Toole hit Chauncey Magwood with a 5-yard scoring pass.
With nearly two minutes left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs scored on a 30-yard pass from Jordan Roberts to Snoop Williams.
The Bulldogs held the Trojans on the next possession and scored three plays later on a run by quarterback Tay Martin in the first minute of the second quarter.
After the Thomson touchdown, McDowell ran a kickoff back 88 yards, and on Lee’s next possession, Preston Simmons scored on a 1-yard run.
Lee then went through the air for their three TDs, with scoring passes of 24 and 40 yards from Toole to James Hopson. The third came with less than a minute left in the first half when Toole found David Goodwin for a 15-yard scoring pass.
The Trojans’ last score of the night was on a 62-yard return of a Thomson fumble by McDowell in the third quarter.
Youngblood said he was proud of the way the overmatched Bulldogs played early.
“I was proud of the way we came out and weathered the first storm,” he said, adding that the blitz frustrated the Dog on offense and busted coverages on defense cause problems. “When they brought out the second wave of the storm we just didn’t give ourselves any chances.”
Martin rushed for 104 of Thomson’s 241 total yards on 16 carries. Kay’Jaun Cummings was next with 38 yards on 12 rushes.
In looking back, Youngblood said the difference is this year’s first five games and last year’s first five games was that he felt this year, Thomson had a better chance to win games.
“I felt like we had chances to win them all this year, but not being able to score in the second half and fourth quarter was a problem,” he said, adding that this year, the team has gained knowledge and competed and were in every ballgame.
Now, with the region schedule looming to close out the regular season, Youngblood said the Dogs had to finish in all phases of the games from defense to offense to special teams.
“For the next two weeks, we have to get ourselves ready for Baldwin and we have to go to Baldwin and there is no sense in worrying about anything else except beating Baldwin,” said Youngblood. “If we beat Baldwin, we will know that when we go to Burke County, it will be for the region title. We’ll have six days of full-fledged practice to prepare for Baldwin and we’ve got to do a tremendous job getting prepared, staying in shape and having all hands on deck for region games.”