"The Brickyard"

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History of the Brickyard
The McDuffie Progress

The creation of one of this states greatest football landmarks as a result of Mother Nature and a fiery tragedy that occured in the late 1930’s.

The home stadium of the Thomson Bulldogs, known as the legendary “Brickyard,” is the finished product of hard work and dedication from longtime supporters of the early Bulldog teams.

In the summer of 1937, lightning struck the dome of the old Thomson High School, which was located on the grounds where todays Thomson Middle School stands. The entire school burned to the ground, and the residents of the City of Thomson and McDuffie County were devastated.

Clean-up duties quickly began, and all the bricks from the old, burned school were piled up on school property. Construction of the existing building that now houses TMS soon began.

During this time, football games for the Bulldogs were played on a field where the Bridkyard now stands, excluding the brick wall. A few years after the fiery mishap that destroyed Thomson High, residents of the city and school officials decided to use the old bricks to construct a wall around the football field to create a closed-in stadium.

Funds for the big construction project were obtained through President Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps Program. When these funds were made available, work on the Bulldog’s new home began.

“The CCC Program under President Roosevelt was one of two special areas that the federal government had available to help communities,” said Dewayne Patrick, a member of four Thomson Bulldog teams from 1949-1952 and a retired military general. “The other program of President Roosevelt’s was the Works Projects Administration (WPA) that helped build bridges and brick homes on Army bases.”

The first game in the new “Brickyard” was played on September 26, 1941, in which Thomson played Sylvania for a 6-6 tie. L.C. “Flash” Gordon was the first head coach of a Bulldog team that played in the Bridkyard.

The first win for Gordon’s Bulldogs in the Brickyard occured on October 10, 1941 against Greensboro High School by a 12-7 score.

In the following few weeks, the Bulldogs remained undefeated at their new stadium by defeating Lincointon 12-2 on Oct. 24 and by beating Gray 9- 7on Nov. 14.

The first loss for the Bulldogs at the Brickyard came against neighboring Warrenton on Thanksgiving Day of 1941. No score could be found in the records for this game. The Bulldogs finished the 1941 sea son with a 5-4-1 record.

Thomson was a baseball town until the 1940s,” said Bill Beckum, local historian and statistician of the Thomson Bulldogs. “For many decades, both baseball and football games of Thomson High were played in the Brickyard”

Beckum added, “Before football games were played in the Brickyard and the original field before the bricks were layed, the Bulldogs played their home games in the mid- l930s on the old fairgrounds in Thomson, where The McDuffie Progress is now located.

Today, the Brickyard is known statewide as one of the toughest stadiums for visiting teams to attempt wins. It has been ranked the past few years in the Top 10 as one of the most attractive high school stadiums in Georgia.

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