Thomson runs ball for victory over Ware

Going into the playoff game against Thomson, Ware County knew they would have to stop the dominating, high scoring, Wing T offense of the Bulldogs from scoring at will and controlling the clock.

Thomson had the weapons to run the ball with QB Deon Palmer, RB's DeMarco McNair and Antwan Johnson combining for over 3,000 yards on the ground this season. On defense, the Bulldogs only allowed less than on average 7 points a game. The Bulldogs never gave up more than 14 points in any one game and recorded 4 shutouts this year, the last coming against Troup in round one of the playoffs. Ware County's offense, without starting running back Tommy Jones, would have to air it out to put up enough points to keep up with Thomson's high scoring offense.

The first half action was the most exciting high school football that many can recall. The Ware County Gators came out throwing with QB Steven Daniels, connecting on all 5 passes of the 7 play drive, the last pass being a 51 yard touchdown to Ryan Benson.

Thomson answered 15 seconds later, the amount of time it took DeMarco McNair to run the kickoff back 94 yards.

With 7:39 left in the first quarter, the game was tied 7-7. Ware County scored again on its next possession. Daniels completed 4 of 6 passes, ran it once and from 16 yards out connected once more with Ryan Benson for a Gator score. Thomson's offense finally had their first possession of the game with just over 5 minutes left in the first quarter.

Starting on their own 28 Thomson surprised no one by running the ball and proceeded to mount a 72 yard touchdown drive.

During the drive the Bulldogs made a first down on a fourth down try on the Ware 34, Thomson's RB Antwan Johnson fumbled on the 20 yard line which was recovered by Thomson, Johnson apparently was injured on the play and didn't return to the game.

Thomson was confident in their running game and scored at the end of the first quarter on a 16 yard QB sweep by Deon Palmer. The first quarter ended with the score tied at 14.

In the second quarter, Thomson was finally able to get a handle on the Ware County passing attack stopping the Gators in 3 plays and forcing them to punt. As quick as Ware County can score in the air, Thomson proved they can score just as quick on the ground.

On the first play Bulldog QB Deon Palmer ran 54 yards to the Ware 20 and on the second play RB Demarco McNair ran it in to put Thomson up 21-14 with 10:09 left in the half. Both defenses began to stiffen as each team forced each other to punt twice.

On Thomson's second punt from their 14, Ware County's Leodis McKelvin set up the Gator offense by returning it to the Thomson 32. An incomplete pass, a 12 yard scramble by Daniels and a 20 yard TD pass to Jervis Kay quickly put the Gators back tied with Thomson at 21 with 3:27 on the clock.

Thomson started on their 45 and on 3rd and 9; QB Palmer picked up a fumbled hand off and ran it to the Ware County 39.

With time running out, the Bulldogs mixed in a few passes to get the ball down to the 11 yard line and with 7 seconds left Aaron Johnson put Thomson on top 24-21 at the half with a 29 yard field goal.

The second half started out fairly even as both defenses were able to force the others offense to punt twice, but then Thomson took control. The Bulldogs scored on consecutive drives of 43 yards and 35 yards recovering a fumbled squib kick on the Ware 35 and adding an 80 yard 7 play touchdown drive to put Thomson up 44-21 with 4:55 left in the game.

Earlier in the half Ware County had several missed opportunities with some dropped passes and overthrown balls but got back on track to drive 70 yards in :57 seconds, the 2 point try was no good and with 3:58 left, Ware trailed by 17, 44-27. Fearful of the Gator offense, Thomson's 1st team offense took the field leading by 17 with less than 4 minutes to play.

Thomson's QB Deon Palmer scored his 3rd touchdown of the half with 1:05 to play. The Gators, never giving up, scored one more touchdown and added a 2 point conversion before time ran out. The final score to this high scoring AAAA match up Thomson 51, Ware County 35.

The difference in the game was Thomson's great running game, and Ware's inability to stop it. Offensively Ware County gave Thomson a scare scoring 5 passing touchdowns and 21 more points then any team has scored on Thomson all year.

The Thomson Bulldogs move on in AAAA playoff action taking on Rome this coming weekend. Other Quarter final games include Shaw vs. Tucker, Marist vs. Griffin, and Region 1 AAAA Champions Thomas County Central taking on McNair.

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