ELBERTON, Ga. - There wasn't much trickery or subtlety about Thomson coach Luther Welsh's gameplan for Friday night's season opener against Elbert County in a muggy Granite Bowl.
When your offensive line averages 280 pounds, there's no need to be sneaky.
Thomson's hard-fought 14-0 win was evidence of that.
"Man, when you got a line like that, all you got to do is keep pounding, pounding and pounding," Thomson running back LaBrandon Hudson said. "You don't have to get very fancy. You just keep on grinding, and eventually something good will happen."
Thomson didn't attempt a single pass; instead it methodically grinded out yard after yard before Tim McCord's 11-yard run with 7:45 in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the game.
Rodney Roberts' interception with 4:18 left sealed the victory for Thomson, which added a final touchdown score on Hudson's 3-yard run.
Elbert County had ample opportunities to score.
A 60-yard kickoff return by LaJarvis Goss to begin the third quarter set the Blue Devils up in Thomson territory before stalling at the 32.
A fumble by quarterback Anthony Erwin gave Elbert County the football at Thomson's 39, until a fourth-down run fell a yard short at the 16.
"We had our opportunities, but Thomson's a strong team with a big line," Elbert County coach Jeff Arnette said. "We knew they were going to come right at us and dare us to stop them. We did a good job there for 3 quarters, but just wore out a little at the end."
There was nothing fancy with the way Thomson attacked Elbert County's defense.
The Bulldogs kept pounding the middle of the Blue Devils' defensive line, with Erwin either keeping the football or handing it to running backs Kwynta Brown and Hudson.
Thomson ran the ball 28 times; the Blue Devils had only 15 offensive plays.
However, the Bulldogs managed only 64 yards, 53 coming on a 16-play drive that bogged down at the Elbert County 20-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, Thomson's defense was just as stingy. Elbert County had only 27 yards, 20 courtesy of quarterback Riley Yeargin., who completed 3 of 6 passes to three receivers.
A senior, Yeargin played all but one series before giving way to sophomore Chris Heard midway through the second quarter.
Yeargin came back in for Elbert County's final possession of the second quarter and completed a 10-yard pass to Tori McClendon to the Thomson 32. But the Blue Devils got no closer and were forced to punt as the first half came to an end.
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