Thompson routes Grissom to advance to quarterfinals

Published 12:18 am Saturday, November 7, 2020

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By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter 

ALABASTER – The Thompson Warriors could’ve named their score Friday, Nov. 6 in the first round of the playoffs and ran up a 49-0 lead at halftime against Grissom.

After missing out on the playoffs the last 16 years, the warriors welcomed the Grissom Tigers back to the postseason in dominating fashion winning 49-7 to advance to the quarterfinals of the playoffs on their path to repeating as state champs.

Simply put, everything went the Warriors’ way in the first half. The defense was lights out, posting seven tackles for loss before halftime and five three-and-outs to start the game. They also didn’t allow a single first down in that span.

Jeremiah Alexander was particularly imposing, as he made a living in the backfield with three tackles for loss and was in on two sacks. After the Warriors drew first blood on a 26-yard pass from Conner Harrell to running back Jarrett Crockett, they got a big play on special teams.

Trevor Hardy sent a bullet on his kickoff that bounced squarely off the chest plate of a Grissom player.

The deflection rolled 10 yards and the Warriors were on it as the ball was punched toward the end zone with Sam Reynolds finally scooping up the loose ball.

Thompson needed just 14 seconds after their first score to cross the goal line again as Harrell pulled on a zone read and split two defenders for a 7-yard rushing touchdown.

The defense didn’t allow a single third down conversion the entire game and forced the visiting Tigers off the field time and again in the first half.

Harrell got all his action in the first half going 8-11 for 165 yards and two touchdowns to go with 22 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Almost all of those passing yards went to Ryan Peppins who hauled in four receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown—his fourth 100-yard performance of the year.

Peppins’ score was a thing of beauty as he sped up the Grissom sideline to the end zone. Harrell lifted a high, arcing pass toward the far pylon, but Peppins went up over the taller defender to snatch the score with 8:39 in the second quarter to go up 35-0.

Crockett enjoyed his second straight 100-yard game on the ground as he went for 121 yards on 17 rushes, all in the first half to add to his 26-yard touchdown reception.

It was the senior’s fourth 100-yard game of the year and his five touchdowns were a new career-high.

Crockett hit pay dirt from 36 and 13 yards out with two one yard scores mixed in. Kobe Stewart led the defense with 3.5 tackles as Jax Van Zandt and Jeremiah Alexander each added three.

The Warriors will be in for a Region 3 rematch as they will face Hewitt-Trussville Friday, Nov. 13 looking to advance to the semifinals.