Surging Bulldogs cruise past West

Thomasville running back Gabe Brockett breaks free from a host of West Davidson defenders on a long run during their game Friday night. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

THOMASVILLE | Gabe Brockett continued his onslaught of Central Carolina Carolina defenses and Thomasville continued to build momentum by winning its third straight game in a 35-5 wipeout of West Davidson on Friday night at Cushwa Stadium.

Brockett, the Bulldogs’ lanky 6-foot-1 senior running back, rushed for 179 yards and scored all four of his touchdowns in the first two quarters to help Thomasville grab a huge lead early and improve to 3-0 in the CCC, 3-6 overall.

In his last three games, Brockett has totaled 789 yards on the ground and 10 TDs. However, Thomasville offensive coordinator Dickie Cline is quick to point out the improvement by another group of Bulldogs.

“Every week our offensive line has gotten better,” said Cline. “We started coming together in the High Point Central game (three weeks ago). Even though we lost that game (24-0), we moved the ball very well against them and they have a heck of a defense. But Gabe is doing things better on his own, too. This is his first year playing running back so it’s taken some time. He’s got good speed and he hits the hole hard.”

The Green Dragons found that out on the game’s opening series as Brockett burst through the middle of the defense and sprinted 35 yards for a score, capping a short 54-yard drive after West had opened the game with a squib kick to Thomasville’s front line on the kickoff.

On the Bulldogs’ next series it was Brockett again finding the end zone from 38 yards out, making it 14-0 with just less than six minutes left in the first quarter. Then he added two second-quarter touchdowns runs of five and 15 yards to put the game away as Thomasville celebrated homecoming in style.

West’s defense had to fight fatigue as well as try and find a way to slow down Thomasville as it was on the field for 32 plays in the first half. The Dragons’ offense managed just one first down in the opening two quarters and that was courtesy of a Thomasville penalty.

“The key to this game was their defense,” said West coach Dale Barnes, whose team has dropped five in a row since starting the season 3-0. “Their linebackers are so fast and overall, you just can’t get them out of place. Don’t let that record fool you. Thomasville is still a very good football team.”

Thomasville capped its scoring on a 55-yard TD dash by freshman T.J. Mitchell with a few minutes to play before halftime.

The Dragons pulled together some positives in the second half, getting a safety when they tackled Mitchell in the end zone and a 35-yard field goal from David Monk late in the fourth quarter. West also held the Bulldogs scoreless in the final two quarters, although Brockett and several other starters did not play much in the second half.

Barnes’ club was slightly short-handed as five players who started a week ago did not play for various reasons.

“The kids we brought over here tonight played extremely hard,” said the West coach. “Of course, you don’t want to use excuses so we’re not going to talk about those kids being out. But the kids gave a great effort tonight. We are still trying to do things the right way and two-platoon and we’re going to load up and get ready for East Davidson to come to our place next week.”

Thomasville will travel to Salisbury next Friday for a huge CCC showdown with first place on the line. The Bulldogs beat the Hornets twice last season, including once in the state playoffs.

“Next week is very big, it’s going to be a real challenge,” said Cline. “We’re glad we’re still in this position to have this opportunity. Fortunately, for us we’ve been able to survive the nonconference schedule. It’s very difficult to get schools our size to play us so we had to play this unbelievable schedule (which included losses to four 4-A opponents). And honestly, it was not fair to our kids.

“But we’ve held together, survived injuries and are playing much better. The kids played very well tonight.”

Notes: Kyle Smith, West’s sophomore running back, finished with 66 yards rushing … Randall Troxell had a fumble recovery for West … The Dragons are now 0-3 in the league, 3-5 overall.