THOMSON — After his team’s 42-14 win over West Hall, Rob Ridings reminded his players multiple times about Monday’s practice.
While most of the high schoolers will be on vacation next week, the Thomson Bulldogs will return to school for a 9 a.m. practice to start the week.
“The goal in August is to be practicing at Thanksgiving,” said Ridings, the third-year Thomson coach. “That means you’re one of eight teams left in the state of Georgia. It’s pretty special.”
The second-ranked Bulldogs are back in the Class AAAA quarterfinals for the second year in a row after flexing its offensive muscle against the Spartans on Friday night at the Brickyard. Thomson (12-0), one win away from its first semifinal appearance since 2002, plays host to No. 3 seed Spalding, a 38-21 winner over Ridgeland, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“This is what we’ve been working toward since January,” Bulldogs quarterback Mills Ridings said. “We’ve just really come together this year, kept the train on the track and kept rolling.”
Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, West Hall’s Tyrese Osborne busted a 67-yard kick return. Three plays later, Jacob Satterfield tossed a 22-yard pass in the end zone to Will Dague, the touchdown cutting the West Hall deficit in half.
Satterfield finished 6 for 16 passing for 47 yards and an interception.
Thomson senior running back Mike Thomas keeps rolling along as well. He entered the contest against West Hall (7-5) with 1,745 rushing yards. In just three quarters of work, Thomas gained 224 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns, marching himself closer to the 2,000-yard season mark.
Thomas credited his offensive line for helping with his offensive output.
“I guess they love me,” he said, “because they’ve been blocking for me.”
Thomson rolled up 506 yards of total offense to West Hall’s 104. Ten Bulldogs rushers combined to gain 420 yards on 63 carries. Also, Ridings went 5 for 7 passing for 86 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
“We’ve got an excellent offensive coordinator, Jarrett Troxler. Excellent coach,” Thomas said. “He just puts us in the right positions to make plays and we make them.”
Thomson led by seven early in the second quarter when Ridings threw a short pass left to Thomas on third down. With no holes in front of him, Thomas cut back right all the way across the field for a 14-yard touchdown.
Afterward, Thomson’s high-powered offense took over. Thomas scored on a 6-yard run to push the lead back to 14. Later in the second quarter, Ridings tossed a perfect strike in the end zone to Trey Parker for a 30-yard touchdown, the first of their two scoring connections. The Bulldogs went into intermission up 28-7 and never looked back.