A large crowd of Jeff Davis High football fans made the long trip to Thomson Friday night, endured chilly weather and wind-blown, misty rain to support the Yellow Jackets. The Jeff Davis faithful appeared to outnumber fans of No. 1 ranked Thomson at the game. But the Bulldogs easily prevailed for a 40-0 win to advance to the second round of the 2023 GHSA football playoffs.
The Jackets kicked off to start the game and Thomson quickly rolled 68 yards in 12 plays, overcoming a pair of penalties, to take a 7-0 lead.
After the Jackets couldn’t move the ball on their first possession, Thomson fielded a short punt and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. Freshman Josh Worthington got a piece of the P.A.T kick and the kick failed as Thomson led 13-0.
After JD again could not move the ball, sophomore Konner Munsayac got off a 55-yd. punt and Thomson took over at their own 24.
The Bulldogs could not make a first down as Carter Mullis, playing his last game for JD, and Lewis Baker stopped two running plays and then Worthington broke up a pass on 3rd-and-3 and the ‘Dogs had to punt.
Again, Jeff Davis could not move the ball and Thomson took over after the punt at their own 49.
Thomson scored in just four plays, helped along by a 15-yd. facemask penalty to up the score to 20-0 on the final play of the first quarter.
Thomson’s next possession started at the JD 33 and the Jacket defense bowed its back to stop the Bulldogs from scoring. Worthington and Mullis came up with back-to-back big stops and, on 4th-and-5 at the Jacket 15, Worthington stopped the runner short of the first down marker and the Jackets took over at their 12.
The JD offense finally got on track as Jeff Davis kept the ball for an 8-play drive. Mullis had a 14-yd run and Kyrice Hunt ran out of the wildcat formation for 5 yards. A penalty gave the Jackets another first down. But a fumbled snap for a 2-yd. loss thwarted the drive. On 4th-and-2, quarterback Colby Beach ran on a keeper but came up short of the first down marker and Thomson took over on downs at the Jeff Davis 44.
The Bulldogs scored in two plays, tallying on a 37-yd. pass play to go up 26-0. The 2-pt. conversion attempt failed.
A 15-yd. penalty spoiled the Yellow Jackets’ next possession and Thomson’s last possession of the half started at the JD 49. On 1st down, Mullis flushed the Bulldog quarterback out of the pocket for a short gain and, on 4th down, the Bulldogs completed a screen pass that went for 29 yards and would have gone further if not for Worthington’s shoestring tackle.
After Thomson spiked the ball to stop the clock, and then threw an incomplete pass thanks to Mullis rushing the passer, a high snap enabled Mullis and Kace Galbreath to pressure the quarterback for another incompletion. On 4th-and-11, Thomson tried a pass over the middle but Mullis tipped the ball high into the air and then caught it as it came down for an interception.
The Jackets were then able to run out the remaining time on the second quarter clock.
Jeff Davis took the second half kickoff but couldn’t move the chains and Munsayac got off a 47-yd. punt to the Thomson 23.
The Bulldogs scored on a 67-yd. drive but it wasn’t easy as the Jeff Davis defense gave up ground grudgingly. It took Thomson 16 plays to go the distance. Thomson faced four 3rd-down situations and converted on 4th-and 5 from the Jacket 10, scoring two plays later on a 5-yd. run.
Thomson had a 14-yd. run and an 18-yd. pass completion but other than those two plays, the Bulldogs had to fight for every yard. Brothers Karter and Kace Galbreath came up with big defensive efforts in the drive, as did Malachi Jones, Kace Galbreath two more times, and Jones again. On 3rd-and-4 from the Jacket nine, Mullis stopped a runner for a yard loss making it 4th-and-5 from the 10. But the Jackets jumped off sides and Thomson got a fresh set of downs from the five. After Haydon King stopped a runner for no gain, the Bulldogs scored on the next play. The kick was good and the hosts led 33-0.
A fumble gave Thomson the ball again, this time at midfield. The Bulldogs got a couple of first downs but then the Jackets put up a stone wall, starting at the 6. A penalty moved the ball back to the 11, Kace Galbreath and Mullis came up with big stops, a fumbled handoff lost four and, on 4th-and-goal from the 10, the Bulldogs tried a 27-yd. field goal that sailed off to the left.
But the Bulldogs got the ball right back, recovering a fumble on the next play at the Jeff Davis 19. They scored on 3rd-and-1 from the 10. Mullis blocked the extra point kick to keep the score at 40-0.
On the last possession of the game, Mullis had a 10-yd. run, Elijah Benjamin ran for 9 and 5, and Hunt fumbled for a 7-yd. gain on the last play of the game.