Lyons, GA – November 19, 2023 | Head Coach Buddy Martin | Article by Matt Lynn
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On Friday, the Toombs County Bulldogs hit the road for Round two of the GHSA State Playoffs to face the defending AA State Champion Thomson Bulldogs. This game featured #4 Toombs vs. #1 Thomson and was a thriller to the end.
Toombs County took the opening kickoff and was forced to punt on a three and out. Thomson quickly marched 71 yards on 5 plays, scoring on an 18-yard run to take a 7-0 lead. Thankfully, the Bulldogs from Toombs County would answer on their next possession. On the second play of the drive, Junior QB TJ Stanley called his own number and raced 54 yards for a Toombs County touchdown. A botched snap on the point-after attempt kept the score at 7-6 with the Thomson Bulldogs in the lead.
The “Red Bullet” defense forced a Thomson punt on their next drive, and the Dogs took the ball at the Thomson 45-yard line with 6:20 to go in the opening quarter. Toombs County drove 45 yards on 11 plays when Stanley hit Sophomore Hayden Roy on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Senior Braylen Dietrich added the point after, giving the Dogs a 13-7 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
The teams exchanged punts early in the second quarter. After holding Thomson’s potent offense to another punt, the “Red Bullet” Defense took over. Thomson lined up to punt from their own 23-yard line when Roy found a seam and blocked the punt into the end zone. Sophomore Ryder Sears jumped on the ball for a Toombs County touchdown, pushing the score to 20-7.
Thomson would move the ball slightly on their next drive, but the Toombs County Dogs recovered a loose ball at the Thomson 42-yard line. They went back to work, and Stanley found Sophomore Gavin Fletcher on a 36-yard completion to set up a 2-yard Stanley touchdown run with 3 minutes remaining in the half. This pushed the Toombs County lead to 27-7. Thomson would manag to put a touchdown on the board with seconds remaining in the half and converted a two-point conversion, making the halftime score from the Brickyard, 27-15 in favor of Toombs County.
In the second half, the teams traded possessions. After a Toombs County punt, Thomson scored on a 52-yard touchdown run with 8:19 remaining in the 3rd quarter. With 3:29 remaining in the quarter, Toombs electrified the crowd with a 78-yard Stanley to Fletcher touchdown pass and catch, pushing the Toombs lead back up to 34-22.
On Thomson’s next drive, Mike Polke picked off a Thomson pass on their 40-yard line and then caught a 35-yard pass from Stanley on the next play. Two plays later, Junior Dabyn Wadley scooted behind the physical Toombs County offensive line for another Bulldog Touchdown. The 3rd quarter ended with Toombs on top, 41-22.
Thomson added a late score and a two-point conversion, but Cornelius Bullard scooped up an onside kick, giving Toombs the ball back with a few minutes left. The Bulldogs worked the clock down to 2:13 when Dietrich punted the ball back to Thomson on their own 1-yard line.
Toombs County held the defending AA State Champion Thomson Bulldogs and moves on to the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. Toombs County also has 11 wins for the first time since 2000.
This week, the the Dogs are on the road again and will be traveling to Rockmart (10-2), who defeated Union County 56-14 on Friday.
Passing: 6/14 for 170 Yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: 34 carries for 159 Yards, 3 TDs
Total Offense: 329 Yards
Penalties: 2 for 10 Yards
1st Downs: 12
3rd Down Conversions: 4/10
4th Down Conversions: 0
Time of Possession: 22:40
Passing: 20/42 for 251 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 36 carries for 213 Yards, 3 TDs, 2 Fumbles Lost
Total Offense: 464 Yards
Penalties: 6 for 55 Yards
1st Downs: 22
3rd Down Conversions: 3/13
4th Down Conversions: 2/2
Time of Possession: 25:20