HARLEM -- The Thomson football team hadn't been able to get both the offense and defense clicking on the same night all season. That was, until the Bulldogs came into the Junkyard.
Thomson was firing on all cylinders Friday night during its 46-7 win over a fellow set of Bulldogs in Region 3-AAA North. The score had Thomson fans reminiscing about the number of points posted by the 2002 state championship team.
"I always thought they were capable; it was whether or not they made up their mind," Thomson coach Luther Welsh said. "They've been after it, and they've undoubtedly improved. They played like they're supposed to play, and I'm proud of them."
Thomson (5-1, 2-0) wasted no time putting points on the board. On the game's first drive, quarterback Jerrell McNair and fullback LaBrandon Hudson powered the offense to the Harlem 8 in five plays. Two runs later, Hudson put Thomson up 7-0 with 9:28 left in the first quarter.
Harlem (3-3, 1-1) answered after a 39-yard interception return by Esau Hatchett put the ball on the Thomson 31-yard line with more than 8 minutes left before halftime.
Six plays later, running back Gabe Greer found quarterback Brendan Gray open for the touchdown with 6:15 left.
On the ensuing possession, Thomson's drive seemingly had stalled with third-and-10 on the Harlem 46 with just under 4 minutes remaining.
But McNair came up with a long pass to newcomer Kyle Franklin - a standout quarterback at Boothville-Venice in Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina - for the score. The Bulldogs never trailed the rest of the way.
"Nothing like that really ever happened to me," Franklin said of the touchdown reception. "He made a wonderful throw. I just ran under it, and I was able to catch it."
On Thomson's first drive of the third quarter, halfback Anthony "Pooh" Erwin broke a 43-yard run to the Harlem 7. Hudson pounded through the Harlem defense on the next play to put Thomson up 20-7.
Thomson scored three more times in the fourth quarter as most of Harlem's two-way players were visibly tired. One of those touchdowns came on a 63-yard run from Orlando Johnson with 3:08 left in the game.
The final Thomson score came after Harlem lost a fumble on its own 26. Erwin rambled 18 yards for the score with 1:03 to go.
"We made less mistakes than we've been making, and I think the kids wanted to do good," coach Welsh said. "So that's all they've heard for two months now, and they probably got tired of hearing it.