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THURSDAY • August 18, 2016


Bulldogs look to work hard, continue success BY CAITLIN BOLAND

The Thomson High School Bulldogs finished last year’s season with an 111 record, a region championship and a trip to the state playoffs. During the offseason, the Bulldogs continued to work hard to get better everyday. “We worked hard in the weight room everyday, and the players worked with our running program to get physically ready for the season,” said head coach Rob Ridings. Ridings said the team completed 24 workouts and attended several camps throughout the summer including the Burns Palmetto Showdown 7-on-7 Passing Camp in Duncan, South Carolina; the Mike Hodges Offensive Line Camp; and the Hodges Quarterback-Receiver Camp and the South Carolina Quarterback-

Receiver Camp. Going into the 2016 season, Ridings said the team’s strengths will be with returning skilled players such as quarterbacks and running backs as well as a returning kicker in Dakota Gergen, who was an all-region kicker last season. “We returned a large majority of our skilled players, but we lost a large portion of the offensive line with only one returning starter,” Ridings said. “We lost all six of our players on the defensive front, so we are very young on both lines.” The Bulldogs have 80 players in 10th through 12th grade and 36 ninth graders, adding up to 116 players on the team. Both the JV and ninth grade teams will play a seven game schedule, and the varsity will have a 10 game schedule, beginning with a scrimmage against Grovetown on Aug. 12 and a regular season opener

against Laney on Aug. 19. The main goal for this year’s team is to win another region championship and get to the playoffs. Ridings said the ultimate goal is to win a state championship. “We are practicing hard every day and doing a good job in the hallways, working towards our goals,” Ridings said. “All of the games this season are important and tough, and we will

take them one at a time. We open the season with a very talented Laney team and then entertain Effingham County, a AAAAAA team -- two classifications above us.” One thing Ridings said is a weakness for the team going into the season is a lack of experience on both the offensive and defensive lines.

See THS, Page 19

The McDuffie Progress/Caitlin Boland

Mills Ridings, one of the THS quarterbacks, prepares to take a snap during practice.