Class 2A blog: Thomson, Fitzgerald radio announcers discuss championship

WTHO’s Dennis Sanders, WRDO’s Bill Bryant have worked 76 seasons combined

The Class 2A championship between Thomson and Fitzgerald kicks off noon Friday at Georgia State, and will be broadcasted on Thomson’s WTHO 101.7 and Fitzgerald’s WRDO 96.9.

Dennis Sanders has been voice of Thomson football since 1976 without missing a game. He’ll call his 559th in a row Friday. Bill Bryant has been calling games for the Cane since 1990. Below are some of their thoughts on the teams and the championship.

The full conversation can be heard on Ep. 60 of The Class 2A Blogcast, to be released later this week.

Dennis Sanders

On the team’s progress this season: “We’ve made a number of changes in positions, offensively and defensively. We’ve changed both our offensive tackles. We’ve changed the defensive line some. We’ve changed up some of the secondary. We’ve changed some linebackers. Because earlier in the season, that’s what you’re doing. You’re trying to find the best fit...We’re a better team now than we were at the beginning of the season.”

On holding Appling County to 14 points: “Thomson’s really proud of their defense this year...When you look at that unit, there’s not a weakness at any position. There’s no place they have to cover. They’re able to shut down the run. They have tremendous secondary people. One of the kids in the secondary (Storm Hunt) leads the state in interceptions. They’ve got a big safety (Marcellus Brigham) who’s 6-foot-3 and fourth on the team in tackles, and he didn’t even start until the third game. He’s all over the place, great hands, great leaping ability. He’s a basketball star they’ve got on the football team.”

On the championship matchup: “With (Jontavis Curry) on the field, he can turn any play into an, ‘Adios, goodbye!’, which is a term that I use on the radio many a long touchdown. He’s capable of doing that at any time, and he’s shown that against Appling County...Usually in these kind of games, someone’s defense shows up and really shines. Turnovers could be the difference. I see it as a toss-up. I think it’s going to be that close. And on paper, I think it will be relatively low-scoring when you start looking at these teams, because defense really comes up big in these kind of games. Fitzgerald’s defense is certainly strong, and we know Thomson’s is. We’re giving up (10.14) points a game, they’ve giving up (11.93). In today’s game of offense, that’s tremendous.”

Bill Bryant

On Tucker Pruitt and Fitzgerald reaching the championship three years in a row: “It has been a good run for us. When you talk about coach Tucker Pruitt, he’s a very young man, but I first met him here when he came here with his dad (coach Robby Pruitt) as a 14-year-old. He played for the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane. He’s got a great coaching family that he’s a part of. He’s a coach that seems to be able to fit his team with the personnel he has. I think If you asked Tucker, he’d probably like to throw the ball more, but he’s learned to win with the running game. As so many of you have seen, Fitzgerald likes to get the ball, keep the ball, get first downs and run the clock. It’s not exciting to watch — it is for Fitzgerald fans. He’s a young man who’s figured out how to win with the talent he has and the talent he brings to the football field on Friday night.”

On difference between Game 1 and the semifinals: “We’ve begun to put the pieces of the pie together. From last year we had a great nucleus returning on the offensive line. We lost a lot of folks on defense. But the staff moved the players around. We receive a starting lineup from coach Pruitt every game and we began to notice, all during the year, that starting lineup would change. One here, one there. But our offensive line was in place. It was those other pieces of the pie that got us ready for this playoff run.”

On the championship matchup: ”How will we react against Thomson? I don’t think anyone can say until the kickoff starts. Thomson is going to bring a good football team with a lot of talent on the field. Those fans and that community are excited well...These kids think they’re supposed to win. This senior group is 47-7. Four of those came when they were freshman and they probably weren’t on the field that much then. I think we’ll play Thomson real tough on Friday at lunch.”