SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The seventh touchdown Savannah Christian scored last week was not the Raiders' longest or prettiest or most important in a one-sided win.
But it meant everything in one corner of the crowd, where the late score was the perfect ending to another long Friday for Jervy Thomas, whose great nephew, Brandon, rounded out the scoring in a 49-14 win over Calvary Day.
"I drive two hours every weekend to come to every game,'' said Jervy Thomas, "because i love my grand nephew and I love this game.''
Thomas is not the Raiders' longest-standing fan. He just has the longest commute to their games, more than 100 miles each way from Mount Vernon.
And he is hardly their loudest voice in the stands, having spent the last nine months recovering from throat cancer.
"It didn't keep me from doing it,'' said Thomas, who uses a noisemaker to help him cheer. "I had to bring my little gadget to make noise because i can't yell.''
But, even if Brandon doesn't hear his great uncle, he knows he's there.
"It makes me feel real good,'' said Branson, a sophomore quarterback. "A cancer patient who survived that? It's just helpful to me and it inspires me to go out there and play hard for him. I just thank him for everything.''
Thomas was told by doctors two weeks ago he is cancer free.
But he credits his two hour drives on Friday and the connection he has shared with Brandon as being a key part of his recovery.
"It got me to be more active than what I was at first,'' he said, "because the chemo beat me up a little bit.''
They were both lifted up a little more last week, when Brandon played as much as he has all season and the scored in the end zone where his great uncle was standing.
"He was probably jumping up and down, just screaming my name and everything,'' said Brandon. "I don't really know.''
But the elder Thomas says he does know how the Raiders' season will end this year after losses in the state championship game the last two years.
"They're going to win it,'' he says. "I'll be there and they're going to win it.''
If so, it'll be a wild ride for the Raiders and for Thomas.