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Brockett, Bulldogs coast over Lincolnton

Thomasville's Dezmond Wilson (left) and teammate Keith Clemmons stop Lincolnton's Justice Whitesides during their game Friday night. (Photo by Michael Coppley/The Dispatch)

THOMASVILLE | Gabe Brockett consumes football field hash marks like the rest of us might consume M&Ms.

He just can’t stop gobbling them up.

Brockett, Thomasville’s 6-foot-1 tailback, rushed for a ho-hum 356 yards in 36 attempts to help carry the Bulldogs to a convincing 55-14 victory over Lincolnton in the second round of the state 2-A playoffs Friday night at Cushwa Stadium.

Ho-hum? In his last three games, Brockett has rushed for an eye-popping 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns. It’s really not supposed to be that easy.

And then, just for good measure, stablemate freshman fullback T.J. Mitchell added 121 yards on nine carries and three touchdowns of his own while running out of the I formation.

Both backs actually complemented each other’s game. Whew.

“We just made sure we got everything right in practice and executed real well,” said Brockett, whose performances lately have been simply scintillating. “We just ran the ball like we were supposed to.”

The game was close for just a few minutes in the first period.

On Thomasville’s first possession, Brockett broke free on a 52-yard TD dash to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.

Lincolnton, which ended its season at 7-6, countered with a touchdown on the following possession when quarterback Jordan Easter capped a 60-yard, 13-play drive with an 11-yard scoring run to tie the game at 7-7.

Then it was Brockett again. This time, he jetted in from 53 yards out for a 14-7 lead, and the game was never close after that.

In the second period, Bulldogs quarterback Ike Marsh capped a 77-yard drive with a 9-yard scamper, and then a few minutes later, Mitchell scored his first TD of the night untouched with a 36-yard run up the middle.

Just like that it was 28-7 and the Wolves were in trouble. Lincolnton did score with two minutes to go before halftime when Easter found wideout D.J. Cunningham for an 8-yard TD pass, but the tone of the game was already set and Lincolnton really had no answers.

The second half was all Thomasville.

Mitchell scored on runs of 31 yards and 5 yards in the third period, while Brockett added a 3-yard score. Then Brockett added a 32-yard TD run in the fourth period.

“Both backs played hard,” said offensive coordinator Dick Cline. “And the offensive line did a very good job.

But the defense played lights out, too,” said Cline. “It was a great team win. A great team effort. And we’re just tickled that we still get a chance to be playing.”

Cline said he wasn’t taking anything for granted.

“We felt like if we got all our assignments right that we could move the football on them,” said Cline. “I think we wore them down a little bit, and it was very rewarding.

“But I’m never relaxed,” said Cline. “I know in my mind I felt like we had to score every point we could because they can be so explosive and they had the opportunity to just rack ‘em up.”

Except that Lincolnton couldn’t.

Notes: Thomasville improves to 6-7 for the season … The Bulldogs attempted just one pass for the night and ended up with 504 yards rushing in 51 carries in a fine example of ball control offense … The Bulldogs hit the road to face top-seeded East Lincoln in the third round Friday night. East Lincoln defeated Starmount 37-24 to advance.