Thompson’s historic season continues with win over SPHS
Published 11:22 pm Friday, October 13, 2017
HOOVER – The latest chapter in a historic season for Thompson’s football team was a 40-17 win at Spain Park on Friday, Oct. 13.
With the victory, Thompson clinches its first playoff berth since 2006 and is 7-0 for the first time since the school’s 1982 championship season.
While ending an eight-game losing streak against Spain Park, the Warriors (5-0 in Class 7A, Region 3 play) also established themselves in the top two of the region alongside Hoover, and the two powers will clash at Hoover on Oct. 27.
SPHS, meanwhile, falls to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in region play.
The Jaguars are in line for the fourth and final playoff berth out of the region, but it will be important to earn wins in their last two region games against Tuscaloosa County and Oak Mountain.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Thompson coach Mark Freeman said. “Their effort was great tonight.”
Freeman said the Warriors are continuing to improve, but it is important for them to realize there is still more work to do, as evidenced by nine penalties for 95 yards in the game.
Thompson rolled up 556 yards of total offense in Friday’s win.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa frequently used his scrambling ability to buy time in the pocket and find open receivers.
Tagovailoa completed 23 passes in 33 attempts for 296 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
THS went 75 yards in about 3 minutes on the first possession of the game for a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Ahmad Harris-Edwards followed by a point-after by Samuel Serrato.
Later in the first quarter, Tagovailoa passed to Harris-Edwards for another touchdown to make the score 13-0.
Set up by a fake punt converted for a first down on a pass from Trevor Bernier to Luke Blackmon, Spain Park got on the board with a 33-yard field goal by Cole Starr.
Thompson answered right back with a one-yard run by Shadrick Byrd to make it 20-3 following Evan McGuire’s extra point.
Spain Park’s D’Arie Johnson cut into the lead with a 97-yard touchdown run down the home sideline, and the score stood at 20-10 at halftime.
The Warriors ended any hopes of a comeback by the home team when they took their first possession of the second half and scored on a six-yard run by Tagovailoa on an option keeper that ended with a stiff arm to a defender and the quarterback stretching the ball out for the goal line.
A pick-six by Thompson’s David Douglas Jr. and the third scoring strike from Tagovailoa preceded the final score of the game, a three-yard run by Johnson with 6:26 remaining.
Tagovailoa’s favorite targets were Harris-Edwards, who had 11 catches for 113 yards, and Mo Edwards, who had four catches for 106 yards.
Byrd rushed 17 times for 142 yards and a touchdown, and JoJo Ford had 80 yards on 13 rushes.
Tagovailoa ran six times for 30 yards and a TD.
Spain Park was able to move the ball at times offensively but could not keep pace with the Warriors.
Braxton Barker was 14-of-31 passing for 176 yards, while Johnson rushed eight times for 117 yards, with 97 yards coming on one play late in the first half.
M.J. Rogers caught six passes for 95 yards.
Clay Christian posted 5.5 tackles for the Spain Park defense, and Braxton Hall prevented a Thompson score with an interception in his own end zone.
Linebackers K.J. Robertson (five tackles) and Jalen Rayam (four tackles) led the Thompson defense.
Myles Brown had an interception.
Thompson hosts Huffman (3-4, 1-4) on Friday, Oct. 20.