The Panthers came away with several key turnovers and held off the Bulldogs 23-14 on Friday night.
Thomson, playing in its first official game of the season, lost three fumbles – two deep in Lakeside territory – and threw two interceptions while committing 13 penalties for 103 yards.
The Panthers (1-1) were far from perfect themselves, losing three fumbles – two deep in Bulldogs territory – but head coach Jarrett Troxler was happy coming away with the win.
“I thought the kids played great and responded to a lot of adversity,” he said. “I’m going to take it, a win’s a win, especially against a program like that.”
Lakeside got a 22-yard field goal from Luke Harmon to take the early lead. The Panthers then fell behind 14-3, but didn’t panic.
Quarterback Hunter Banks, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 264 yards, drove the team to the Bulldogs 15, aided by a 31-yard run by Joshua Jones. When Banks got the wind knocked out of him, sophomore Nick Patterson stepped in and threw a 15-yard strike to BJ Raymond as the Panthers closed the gap to 14-10.
Raymond finished with seven catches for 91 yards and Jonathan Edwards caught five ball for 90 yards.
That’s when the wheels started coming off for Thomson.
The Bulldogs drove to the Panthers 12, but fumbled it away. Lakeside took over and went 88 yards in seven plays.
Banks found Forrest Nanney for a 29-yard touchdown as the Panthers went up 17-14, a lead they would not relinquish.
Chewing up yardage and clock in the second half behind the running of Leon Jones, who finished with 130 rushing yards, the Bulldogs fumbled at the Panthers 5 on their second possession of the half. They proceeded to throw an interception, fumble, punt and throw another interception on their remaining possessions of the second half.
“Turnovers killed us, procedure calls killed us and missed tackles killed us,” Thomson coach Milan Turner said.
With 8:36 to play still up 17-14, the Panthers all but put the game out of reach with a 10-play, 73-yard drive with Edwards plunging in from two yards out.