HomeSportsThomson Advances to State Championship Game

Thomson Advances to State Championship Game



No. 4 Thomson went on the road Friday to defeat a higher ranked opponent for the second consecutive week, earning a 20-14 class 2A semifinal playoff victory over No. 3 Appling County to set up a state championship game showdown this Friday at noon against No. 1 Fitzgerald at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium in Atlanta, the home of Georgia State University football. This will be Thomson’s first trip to the state championship game since 2016, and the first under fifth year head coach Michael Youngblood, who has led a resurgence in the program and given hope to the hordes of Bulldog fans that Thomson can bring home its first state championship since 2002.

Jontavis Curry extended a brilliant playoff run Friday by rushing 15 times for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 77-yarder on the second play from scrimmage on Thomson’s final drive to give the Bulldogs a 20-14 lead with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Curry also scored a touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Jah’Kiaus Jones with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter that gave Thomson a 13-0 halftime lead.

During the playoffs, Curry has captured the imagination of fans of Thomson and observers in general. And he has surely caught the eye of the people who give awards, evaluate talent and hand out college scholarships during a four-game playoff run in which he has accounted for 1,016 total all purpose yards and 12 touchdowns. For the second week in a row, Curry left the home town broadcasters in awe while trying to describe his lightning fast and hard cutting running style.

A Complete Team Effort

But as has been the case the entire season, Thomson’s success was a complete team effort. The defense was phenomenal as Appling County was held to its second lowest point total of the season, and the Pirates were shut out in the first half. While Thomson built a 13-0 halftime lead, its defense held Appling County’s offense to only 72 yards of total offense, and the Pirates were forced to commit two turnovers

The only sustained drive of the first half for Appling County came on the game’s first series. It started on the Appling County 38-yard line and ended on Thomson’s 25 when Dvonta Babbs intercepted a pass by Dayson Griffis.

The takeaway set up a 76-yard touchdown drive for Thomson that would have ended had junior quarterback Jah’Kiaus Jone not broken two tackles in the backfield before connecting with fellow junior Jordan Lane for a leaping 33-yard completion on the sideline to earn a first down on third-and-seven.

Five plays later, sophomore tackle Dan’Quavious Cummings sealed off the left end with a text book down block to clear the way for Curry to run untouched into the end zone and give Thomson a 7-0 first quarter lead.

Thomson’s second takeaway of the first half also led to a touchdown. With 1:17 remaining in the second quarter Jamere Roberts came untouched off the right end and jarred the ball loose with a vicious blindside hit on Griffis right before he was able to unload a pass. Cummings fell on the loose ball, and three plays later Jones came up with another third down conversion under duress.

Just inside Appling County’s red zone, Jones found himself under pressure. When he tried to escape the pocket he was grabbed by Appling County defensive lineman Jose Martinez, who appeared to be making a key third down sack. But despite having his throwing arm pinned to his waist, Jones was able to flip the ball forward to a streaking Curry, who caught it, turned it upfield and scored on a 19-yard touchdown reception to give the Bulldogs a 13-0 halftime lead.

In addition to the two takeaways, Thomson’s defense also stopped two drives before they started on possessions when Appling County took over on Thomson’s 28-yard line and 37-yard line after Thomson’s Noah Story was able to successfully get off punts with his back against his own end zone.

During the middle part of the second half, Appling County’s offense, which came into the game averaging 35 points per outing, was finally able to string together two scoring drives. First came a methodical, 84-yard touchdown drive towards the end of the third quarter after Appling County’s defense turned Thomson over on downs inside the red zone. And second came a 76-yard touchdown run by Jalen Johnson early in the fourth quarter. Thomson’s offense was unable to sustain a drive on its first series of the fourth quarter. But after Thomson’s defense forced a three-and-out, Curry broke his game winning 77-yard touchdown run on the second play of Thomson’s final offensive series of the game.

Appling County’s attempted answer started with seven minutes remaining at its own 10-yard line. Six minutes later, Travion Curry, Nolan Norman and Jordan Jones made tackles on second, third and fourth down, respectively to seal the win and send the Bulldogs to the state championship game.

Follow Chad Cook’s coverage of local sports on Facebook and Instagram at @AugustaPressSports, and on Twitter at @AugPressSports.

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  1. Great article Chris. We were able to listen to the game on WTHO but all the video clips you added here were awesome to see. Especially the game winning defensive stand and the desperation shovel pass to Curry that was hard to understand from the radio description.

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