Warriors start hot, cruise to win over Spain Park

Published 12:08 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

ALABASTER – Taulia Tagovailoa passed for 300 yards, Shadrick Byrd rushed for 104 yards and Thompson rolled to a 35-7 win over Spain Park on Friday, Oct. 5, to improve to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Class 7, Region 3.

The Warriors scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, striking quickly and holding the ball for only about a combined six minutes of game time.

The first score came on a six-yard pass from Tagovailoa to a leaping Michael Pettway in the back of the end zone on a third-and-goal play.

Evan McGuire was good on the point-after attempt and the four that followed.

Then it was Tagovailoa keeping it himself on an option play and absorbing a hit at the goal line to score from three yards out.

After a crushing sack by Thompson’s Jeremiah Alexander snuffed out Spain Park’s next possession, Tagovailoa found a streaking Pettway across the middle of the field for a 59-yard touchdown pass with about 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter to make the score 21-0.

But Spain Park (1-5 overall, 0-4 in region play) then put together its first sustained drive as halftime neared, with screen plays keeping the THS defense guessing and a fourth-down conversion on a pass from Harrison Barker to Cooper Kelley that just picked up the four yards needed to move the sticks.

Moments later, on fourth and goal from the Thompson 3-yard line, Jalen Henderson took a screen pass and found the end zone to cut the deficit to 21-7 after Drake Tabor’s extra point.

The Jaguars threatened again before halftime but turned the ball over on downs at the Thompson 23.

Any momentum the visitors seized was taken back as Thompson held SPHS to a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half and then scored on an 11-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Pettway to make it 28-7 just one minute into the third quarter.

The final score of the game came on a 7-yard pass from Tagovailoa to JB Mitchell with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game.

Thompson Coach Mark Freeman said that while he was pleased with the win, his team must continue to improve.

“Every win is great,” Freeman said. “We’ve just got to get better. I don’t know how good we can be.”

Freeman said a bye week before the Spain Park game allowed the Warriors to work on some areas that will be beneficial later in the season, even if those improvements were not evident against the Jags.

“Tonight was not a reflection of that,” he said.

Tagovailoa completed 12 passes in 23 attempts for 300 yards. His favorite target was Pettway, who hauled in nine passes for 152 yards.

Kyle Smoak added six catches for 65 yards.

Byrd rushed 14 times for 104 yards.

Thompson outgained Spain Park 459 yards to 243 yards, though the visitors ran 72 plays to Thompson’s 56 and held the ball for seven minutes longer.

Thirteen penalties for 80 yards hurt the Warriors, compared to Spain Park’s two penalties for five yards.

Barker completed 11 passes in 20 attempts for 87 yards, while Mason Pronk was 6-for-17 for 79 yards.

Josh Stanton caught three passes for 96 yards.

DJ Douglas led the Thompson defense with 7.5 tackles, Sam Reynolds added 5.5 tackles, and Will Conner had 4.5 tackles and an interception.

Spain Park still leads the all-time series with Thompson, 9-4, but the Warriors have won three of the last four.

Spain Park will host Hoover on Friday, Oct. 12, while Thompson will visit Vestavia Hills.

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