WATKINSVILLE — Thomasville’s difficult road to open the season found a big roadblock Friday night.

Darius Johnson scored on a touchdown pass and alter ran back an interception for a touchdown as Oconee County, ranked in the top five in Class AAA, downed the visiting Bulldogs 20-6 Friday.

The loss was the first on the season for Thomasville (4-1), ranked in the top five in Class AA.

The Bulldogs broke through first as Malik Harper scored on a 42-yard touchdown run 9:20 to go in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead. 

Johnson, a junior, answered for the Warriors, burning the Bulldogs’ defense for a 73-yard scoring pass.

With just over 2:20 left in the first half, he picked off a Parker Beckham pass and ran it back fora  touchdown.

Another Warriors interception in the final minute of the first half set up the first of Gabe Valdez’s two field goals.  His 20-yarder with 7 seconds left ion the first half pushed the Warriors lead to 17-6.

The Bulldogs held the Warriors to 90 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Jacob Wright was 11-of-19 for 175 yards and a touchdown. 

Joe Williams snuffed out an early Warriors with an interception in the end zone.  

Oconee’s defense limited the Bulldogs to 198 yards of offense and forced four turnovers. The Bulldogs held Jake Johnson, who had three touchdown receptions against them a year ago, to two catches.

Parker Beckham, in an for injured Shannen White, was 9-of-18 for 61 yards passing. He also ran six times for 26 yards.

Harper amassed 81 yards on 16 attempts. Ricky Fulton was held to 13 yards on six carries. Williams ran four times for 17 yards.

DJ Thurman had three receptions for 14 yards, Harper had eight yards on two catches, and Jeray Randall had 22 yards on one reception. 

Thomasville is off until October 1, when the Bulldogs open Region 1-AA play on the road at Early County.

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