It's all on the line for Bears, Bulldogs

 

At this point in the season, it’s likely for even a good team to get beat.

That’s the case Friday when Burke County and Thomson play in the Region 3-AAA championship game at the Brickyard. The two are a combined 17-1, with 13 of those wins coming by at least 35 points.

“My thing is, the folks you play from this week on are good enough to beat you,” Burke County coach Eric Parker said.

The Bears and Bulldogs met in this spot this past season, when Burke County won 27-9 at home to take the region’s top seed.

But Thomson (9-0) has been scoring in the 50s and 60s this year for its best start since 2006.

The Bulldogs have frequently sprinted out to huge leads against overmatched opponents, thus allowing different players to share offensive duties.

Five players have at least 34 rushing attempts this season, with Josh Jones running for a team-best 413 yards. The quarterback has also passed for 1,075 yards.

Torrie Battle is the No. 1 scoring threat, as he’s totaled 19 touchdowns on returns, rushes and receptions and has often helped Thomson get good field position.

“They absolutely kill people on the short field,” Parker said.

Burke County (8-1) has similarly jumped ahead early in many games, as four players have rushed for more than 350 yards.

Both Corey Mayton and Donquell Green have played at quarterback, but the two have also made an impact in other spots. Mayton has 1,560 total yards passing and rushing while Green’s speed has helped the sophomore rank second behind Mayton with 507 rushing yards.

But they aren’t the only ones Thomson coach Milan Turner is hoping to keep in check.

“It’s not just those two, it’s (Montres Kitchens, Orlando Howard) – so many guys,” Turner said. “They have so many weapons. We just don’t match up well with them. They’re very big and got a tremendous amount of speed. You’ll get yourself in trouble if you focus on any one or two.”

Though Turner said the Bulldogs haven’t played a team as good as Burke County this season, it helps to have this game on very familiar ground as Thomson tries to get a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.

“I’ll take anything we get, home-field advantage, they get lost on the trip over, anything,” Turner joked.

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