Unfortunately for the Grangers, they ended up on the wrong end of the classic showdown.
In a game where offense was in great supply but defense was hard to find, the Bulldogs used their powerful running game to rally from a 21-0 deficit and win 49-42.
The Bulldogs took the lead for the final time when William Bussey scored on a 19-yard touchdown run with less than four minutes to play.
The Grangers had plenty of time to mount a scoring drive of their own, but they were forced to punt after three incompletions.
Thomson was able to pick up a couple of first downs to put the game on ice.
“Defensively, they kind of found a sweet spot, and we couldn’t figure out how to stop them,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “That wasn’t very good on our part. But give them credit. They’ve got a really good football team.”
The Grangers exploded out of the gate against a Thomson team that came in ranked second in Class AAA.
Demoton Boyd returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and the Grangers were up 6-0 moments into the game.
After a Thomson punt, LaGrange’s offense went to work, with quarterback Zach Giddens throwing a 70-yard touchdown pass to Benny Gray, and Giddens threw a two-point conversion pass to Tavone Rivers to make it a 14-0 game.
The Grangers kept it going on their third possession with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 28-yard scoring pass from Giddens to Rivers, and it was a 21-0 game with 4:42 left in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs responded with an interception return for a touchdown by Dexter Jones to trim LaGrange’s lead to 21-7.
The Grangers answered with a 69-yard scoring drive that ended with a Benny Gray 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal, and LaGrange was up 28-7 moments into the second quarter.
The Bulldogs got a 13-yard touchdown run from Chris Tutt and a 6-yard scoring pass from Tutt to Gelyam Parker to trim LaGrange’s lead to 28-21 at the half.
Thomson tied it with 3:31 left in the third quarter on a 25-yard scoring rum from Battle, but the Grangers came right back with a 75-yard touchdown drive, with Giddens finding Dee Gates for a 9-yard touchdown, and LaGrange led 35-28.
Moments later, though, Thomson tied it when Bussey raced 56 yards for the touchdown, and it was tied 35-35 through three quarters.
LaGrange went back up 42-35 when Giddens threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Dee Smith with 9:42 left, but the Bulldogs moved it right back down the field on their ensuing possession, and Quay Cummings scored on a 17-yard run with 6:49 left, and it was tied 42-42.
After a LaGrange interception, the Bulldogs took it in for the go-ahead score.
LaGrange begins Region 5-AAAA play next week against Shaw.
OF NOTE: For a more complete look at Friday’s game including statistics and comments from Branch, see Monday’s sports section.