Bulldogs have slow start; surge to strong finish

Nov. 20, 2012 @ 01:16 PM

When it came down to it last Friday evening, turnovers were too much for Thomasville to overcome.
In a game that saw the Bulldogs outgain East Lincoln 413-302, it was the giveaways that made the difference in a 28-12, third round victory for the Mustangs in the NCHSAA 2-A state playoffs.
Thomasville turned the ball over seven times — five via fumbles and two more in the passing game. Many of the turnovers came in East Lincoln territory.
“We moved the ball well and the defense played great,” said assistant coach Dickie Cline. “If we could have just finished drives that were stopped by our own selves, we could have won that game. It always seemed like whenever we got momentum going, a penalty or turnover stopped us offensively. It is hard to explain when we have protected the ball so well this year. But for whatever reason we did not protect the ball Friday night. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
Regardless of the outcome last Friday, it was a special season for this group of Bulldogs that suffered through a difficult start.
Losing its first six games in a brutal nonconference schedule, THS lost only twice the rest of the way in finishing 6-8. They never quit and were two wins away from making it to the state championship game. Not bad at all for a team that likely a lot of people gave up on early on.
“These kids have a lot to be proud of after starting off the year the way we did,” Cline said. “A lot of teams would have already turned it in, but this shows a lot about the kids as well as coach [Allen] Brown keeping us all together and never giving up.”
Thomasville will lose 14 seniors as they look to 2013, highlighted by standout Gabe Brockett. The 6-foot 1-inch tailback added 218 yards rushing to his total, sending him over the 3,000-yard mark for the year. Other notable seniors include Dezmond Wilson, Greg Johnson, Tequan Williams, Adonis Leonard, Frank Ingram, Lawrence Phillips and Rob Styers.
“These seniors were a great group to work with,” Cline said. “They had that will to never give up and that is something a lot of your average fans do not even see. These kids endured the tough nonconference and these guys were able to do something special at the end. They have a lot to be proud of and showed a lot of character.”

Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or kepley@tvilletimes.com.