THOMASVILLE — Five games into the season, the Thomasville Bulldogs will finally enjoy its first of two bye weeks. It comes at an opportune time as the team has two weeks to reflect on its first loss of the season and prepare for its Region 1-AA opener in two weeks.

“I knew the way that our (bye week) fell, especially after those first five games, not only were they tough, physical South Georgia games but they're so emotionally draining and physically draining; I think (the bye week) is good for our kids,” Thomasville head coach Zach Grage said. “I think we've got a good plan this week; giving them the right amount of time off, but also still getting them in here to work and work out some soreness.”

Grage said the Bulldogs will concentrate on such issues as timing, particularly in the passing game, and on defensive calls and special teams calls. Coaches also may take a closer look at some of the younger players on the roster.

“We're focusing a bunch on our young kids that haven't gotten a whole lot of chance to play because our games have been so close,” Grage said.

Friday night was no different, though it was the Bulldogs' first loss of the season. Oconee County dropped Thomasville 20-6 in the Bulldogs' final tuneup before the start of region play. Thomasville recorded its lowest scoring output since Sept. 6, 2019, when it managed just a field goal in a loss at Colquitt County. It was due in large part to Oconee County's defense, which has allowed just 55 points in four games. The Bulldogs also played without starting quarterback Shannen White, who was injured the game before. 

“After we lost, I talked to the seniors and said, ‘OK, this should propel us to never want to feel like this again,’” Grage said. “We don't want to feel like this again on December 10. We're about to head into our next round of five with our region games. Hopefully, we can treat that like another playoff run. We've got to win every week to advance and reload again heading into November.”

White was held out of practice last week with an ankle sprain. He returned to practice on Monday.

Thomasville has two weeks to correct its mistakes before the start of region play begins at Early County on Oct. 1.

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