Thompson upsets No. 9 Spain Park

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Coming off last week’s 49-17 loss to the No. 1-ranked Hoover Bucs, Thompson head coach Ricky Seale knew he had to do something to get his team ready for its next Region 6 game, just nothing too different.

&uot;More than anything else, we just went back to work,&uot; Seale said.

The Warriors did just that, defeating the Spain Park Jaguars, 24-21, in dramatic fashion Friday night at Jaguar Stadium.

With seven and a half minutes left in the game and the Warriors down 21-17, Thompson quarterback Chris Myles led the Warriors on a 16-play, 78-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown with one minute remaining.

&uot;Our kids believed they could score and that’s the thing about our boys: they believe,&uot; Seale said.

Thompson running back Michael Hundley helped power the Warrior offense all night long with his 148 rushing yards on 16 carries. The Warrior offense finished with 291 yards on the ground.

While the offense received much of the praise for the Region 6 victory, Seale pointed to his defense as the difference maker.

&uot;(Our) defense played a much better game this week,&uot; Seale said. &uot;The offense put them in some tough situations with the four turnovers, but they came up with some big stops.&uot;

Cornerback Daniel Hamlin led all defenders with an astounding 17 tackles, and Chris McNeil sacked Spain Park quarterback Neil Caudle and forced a fumble on the Jaguar’s last possession.

Spain Park head coach Vince DiLorenzo said he was proud of his team’s effort but said the Jaguars must learn to eliminate the costly mistakes.

&uot;We made too many mistakes and we made mistakes at crucial times,&uot; DiLorenzo said.

Among those costly mistakes were two Jaguar fumbles by running back E.J. Riggins, who finished the game with seven yards on three carries and 60 yards on five catches.

Caudle had a strong performance in the loss, throwing 25-of-31 for 256 yards and one touchdown. He also led all Jaguar rushers with 28 yards on four carries.

&uot;It was the kind of game where I felt Neil didn’t play as well as he could but then he came on and played really well in the second half,&uot; DiLorenzo said.

Caudle completed all 12 of his passes in the second half.

The majority of Caudle’s passes were thrown to senior Austin Graham, who finished the night with nine receptions for 109 yards.

&uot;Austin’s blocking, his effort, it was great all game,&uot; DiLorenzo said. &uot;Austin played like a champion and is really setting the bar and intensity for everyone else.&uot;

This week, both teams continue Region 6 play as Thompson hosts Vestavia Hills and Spain Park plays host to No. 1 team and No. 1 rival Hoover Bucs.

In order for the Warriors to continue their winning ways, Seale said his team must be able to execute on offense because the Rebel defense will give them all they can handle.

&uot;On defense, (Vestavia) doesn’t do anything fancy,&uot; Seale said. &uot;They just come right at you.&uot;

After winning in weeks one and two, DiLorenzo knows he has a tough task ahead of him in preparing his team for the nationally ranked Bucs, but he also knows he can not allow his team to beat themselves.

&uot;The first thing we have to do is get our boys to see where the mistakes were made and understand how to correct them,&uot; DiLorenzo said