Thompson hands Mountain Brook first loss in dominant fashion
Published 12:30 am Saturday, October 20, 2018
By ERIC STARLING | For the Reporter
MOUNTAIN BROOK – Leading up to the matchup between unbeaten Mountain Brook, and the one-loss Thompson Warriors on Friday, Oct. 19, opinions were split as to how this game would end, but most everyone expected a close battle. Most people favoring Thompson also expected another air show by senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. In the end, it was a lop-sided 31-7 win for the Warriors with more yards on the ground than through the air.
After last week’s close contest with Vestavia Hills, Thompson head coach Mark Freeman emphasized to his players that getting off the field on third downs was something they had to do much better. This week, Freeman was pleased with their performance on third downs, limiting the Spartans to 3 of 11 on third down conversions. He also shared that there was another key goal for the matchup with Mountain Brook.
“Football in Alabama really starts in November, and if you want to still be playing, you have to establish a run game as well,” stated Freeman. “Tonight’s goal was to establish that run game to compliment what we get from Taulia in the air, and I am happy with our progress.”
The defense got things going for the Warriors first by forcing a Spartans’ fumble on their second play of the game. Samuel Reynolds scooped up the ball and took it to the Spartans’ 15-yard line setting the Warriors up in the red zone for their first drive.
Two quick running plays and the Warriors were in for the score. A 13-yard run by Tagovailoa and a 2-yard push through the middle by Shadrick Byrd and Thompson had its first six of the night. After the extra point from Evan McGuire, who was perfect on the night with four extra points and a 28-yard field goal, the Warriors held a 7-0 lead
The Spartans’ only score of the night came on the ensuing drive with an 80-yard drive that saw them have success on the toss sweep once they got to the sidelines. Samuel Higgins capped the drive with a run from 9-yards out into the end zone.
Thompson’s next drive featured the Warriors’ most pass plays of the game, and saw Tagovailoa garner his only passing touchdown of the evening. On first-and-goal from the three, he hit a leaping Michael Pettway in the back of the end zone for the 14-7 lead. Tagovailoa finished the night 15-of-26 for 149 yards and one touchdown. He also added 33 rushing yards.
McGuire’s field goal with forty-six seconds left in the first half capped the scoring for both teams and left Thompson up 17-7.
Mountain Brook saw their quarterback get hit by Jalen Bustamante forcing a second Spartan fumble and a recovery by Will Hoffman. After that hit and fumble, the Spartan offense sputtered the rest of the evening.
Thompson gained 15 of 24 first downs rushing the ball. They finished with 38 rushing attempts for 214 yards.
The Warriors scored in each quarter of the second half and dominated the clock late by keeping the ball on the ground. Byrd scored from 8 yards and 13 yards respectively. He finished the evening leading all rushers with 110 yards and three scores.
“We wanted to establish the run and we were successful tonight,” stated Tagovailoa. “You guys should be talking to Shad, because he was the star tonight behind our offense line.”
With four teams tied atop the region standings, next week’s matchup between Thompson and Hewitt Trussville at Thompson, along with Hoover hosting Mountain Brook, will set the stage for that November football Coach Freeman was talking about.