T-Dogs win 33-7 in Region Opener
By Alvin Richardson
Morgan County and Thomson had not met on the gridiron since 1965 but the Bulldogs of McDuffie County, freshly minted from Class AAAA, proved to be more than Morgan could handle in 2020. Playing at the historic “Brickyard” Thomson controlled both lines of scrimmage from the outset and rolled to a convincing 33-7 win in the Region 4AAA opener for both teams. Thomson put together 243 rushing yards and added 116 more through the air while Morgan was held to 181 total yards on the night with 90 of those came on a late drive after the outcome was decided.
Thomson led 23-0 at the half and tacked on 10 more points in the third quarter to secure the win. Morgan County’s only score came on a 23 yard touchdown run from Jacere Cooper with 9:34 left in the fourth period.
The Bulldogs from Madison did get some solid defensive performances from several individuals. Al Edwards, back from injury, finished with seven tackles, two assists, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. Key Malone came through with five solos, nine assists and a forced fumble and Elijah Reynolds contributed to the effort with five tackles, three assists, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery. Criston Foster chipped in with three tackles, and six assists and Denver Laughlin finished the night with three tackles, four assists and a forced fumble.
Offensively the highlights were tough to come by. The Thomson defense stymied Morgan throughout most of the evening but Kobridgette Hyman managed to gain 65 yards on 14 carries and Jacere Cooper finished with 39 yards on four carries and a touchdown. Cal Camp completed two passes for 40 yards, one each to Hyman (27 yards) and Samaurea Ward (13 yards).
Morgan County’s defense started the game on a gritty note. Thomson took the opening possession and promptly drove to Morgan’s 16. Thomson had a first and ten from there but the Bulldog defensive unit surrendered just four yards on the next three plays and forced a 29 yard field goal which was off the mark.
MCHS went three and out on their opening possession and a short punt gave Thomson the ball inside Morgan territory. From there they went on a 48 yard drive and scored on a quarterback draw from seven yards out with 4:40 left in the opening frame and the PAT made it 7-0.
The M-Dogs offense couldn’t make any headway on their second try of the night and lost four yards over three plays before punting to midfield. From there Morgan’s defense made Thomson work for what they got and on third and six from the 15 Morgan forced a fumble and recovered it at the three yard line. On second down from the four yard line a bad snap went through the end zone and Thomson had a safety and a 9-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
The squads traded fumbles on the next two possessions and Morgan wound up with good field position at the Thomson 45. Kobridgette Hyman picked up seven yards on first down but second down went for no gain. On third down Thomson was guilty of pass interference and Morgan was in business at the 23 but three plays later the Dogs hadn’t gained a yard and a fourth down pass into the end zone went incomplete.
Thomson then went on a grinding four minute drive that covered 74 yards on 11 plays. They scored on a 14 yard run with 4:34 left in the half and after the extra point led 16-0.
With the game slipping away Hyman squirted wide for 11 yards but it went for naught as Morgan wound up punting to the Thomson 25 late in the period. From there Thomson squeezed out a first down. Two plays later the Thomson quarterback scrambled and found a wide open receiver for a 58 yard touchdown that was a back-breaker for Morgan. That one gave Thomson a 23-0 lead at intermission.
Any hopes of a Morgan comeback were quickly dashed early in the third quarter. On their second play from scrimmage Morgan faced a second and five from the 28 when a fumbled snap was scooped up by a Thomson defender and returned for a touchdown. That made the score 30-0 and this one was all but over.
Thomson tacked on a 41 yard field goal at the 4:30 mark of the third period and Morgan County put together a 90 yard drive in the final quarter for their lone score of the night. The drive was kept alive by a roughing the kicker penalty and then keyed by an eight yard keeper from Pratt Spivey and two nifty runs from Lumpkin that covered a total of 27 yards. Jacere Cooper took over from there and pounded out nine yards in two carries before he broke free on a 23 yard touchdown run. Nathan Camacho added the PAT to make it 33-7 but that was all Morgan could muster on this night as they fell to 2-3 on the season and 0-1 in region play.
The Bulldogs will host Hepzibah Friday night at Bill Corry Stadium in the season’s second region contest. Game time is 7:30.