NORCROSS, Ga. — Chris Jordan rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns, including a 69-yard scoop-and-run fumble recovery score in the final minute, to lift Thomson to a 36-27 victory at Greater Atlanta Christian on Friday night in Spartan Stadium.
William Bussey and Felton Hatcher made two key interceptions and Hatcher busted a fourth-and-1 run in the fourth quarter to thwart the Spartans’ comeback efforts.
It was the sixth time Thomson (6-0) – ranked No. 2 in Class AAA – has come from behind to remain undefeated.
“That kind of seems to be our M.O. this season,” Thomson coach Milan Turner said of the drama his Bulldogs overcame in the second half to prevail over the No. 8 program in Class AA. “I’m proud of our kids. They played hard and fought going on the road again.”
Trailing 20-15 at halftime, Thomson opened the third quarter with a 13-play drive capped by Torrie Battle’s touchdown run to go ahead 23-20.
From their it was the defense that made the big stops when it had to stave off the prolific passing attack of Greater Atlanta Christian and its quarterback Rafe Chapple.
Hatcher blew up a misdirection run for a 6-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at the Thomson 21 to stop one Spartans drive.
On the next offensive series, Hatcher picked off Chapple and returned it 17 yards to the Greater Atlanta Christian 15 to set up a Jordan touchdown run on the next play to make it 30-20 with 4:00 remaining.
But the Spartans needed just 59 seconds to go 69 yards on the next possession, with Chapple hitting Peter Whitehead for a 42-yard touchdown to make it 30-27. Chapple had already thrown touchdowns of 40 and 44 yards in the first half.
Needing to run out the clock, Battle fumbled on the next play to set the Spartans up at midfield. On first down at the 24 with 1:06 remaining, Chapple’s pass to Whitehead in the corner of the end zone was picked off by Bussey coming from across the field.
The Thomson drama wasn’t over. On third-and-10, Chris Tutt was reaching for the first down when the ball popped out. But Jordan was there to reach down and take it the rest of the way for the clinching touchdown with 30 seconds left.
“It’s a hustle play, it’s what we preach and it’s part of why we’re successful,” Turner said of Jordan’s crowning play. “There’s a situation where we’ve got guys running down the field with our quarterback, he fumbles and we’ve got more guys in the area to make a play.”
Thomson has rallied from deficits to beat LaGrange (down 21 points), Burke County (14), Westminster-Atlanta (10), St. Pius (7) and Lakeside (3).