Thompson sweeps 7A awards for 2nd year in a row, has 3 named to Super All-State team

Published 2:59 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

MONTGOMERY – For the second year in a row, the Thompson Warriors had the best Class 7A player on both sides of the ball.

It was made official on Thursday, Jan. 13 inside the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel when the Alabama Sports Writers Association named Jeremiah Alexander and Ryan Peppins the top players in the classification at the Mr. Football banquet.

Alexander, who wasn’t able to attend the banquet due to being an early-enrollee at The University of Alabama, was named the Class 7A Lineman of the Year for the second year in a row, while Peppins earned the Class 7A Back of the Year award.

Last year, Alexander won the award, while Thompson quarterback Conner Harrell was named the Back of the Year.

This season, Peppins replaced Harrell as the Back of the Year winner, but all three of those players were named to the Super All-State team.

With that nod, they took up three of the 12 spots on the team, which honors the best players in the state regardless of classification.

Thompson was the only team to have multiple players make the All-State team.

By winning their individual awards, Alexander and Peppins were considered the best two players in the 7A classification, while they were two of 16 total winners for the eight different classifications, including the AISA.

As if that wasn’t enough, Peppins was also named the Mr. Football award winner, which is given to the best player in the state each year. With the honor, he became the first to accomplish the milestone in both Thompson High School and Shelby County history.

He earned the honor after totaling 1,564 yards and 23 touchdowns on 80 receptions during a remarkable senior season.

Peppins also helped the Warriors win the Back of the Year award for the fifth consecutive season, as he joined Harrell, Sawyer Pate and Taulia Tagovailoa (twice).

Alexander repeated as the winner of the Lineman of the Year award, while he also earned a spot on the Super All-State team for the second year in a row.

The Alabama enrollee totaled more than 70 tackles as an edge rusher during his senior season, finishing with 28 tackles for loss.

Alexander finished his four years as a starter with 98 tackles for loss, including 28 and 29 the last two seasons, while he had more than 300 total tackles.

He was a finalist for the Lineman of the Year award in Class 7A each of his final three years at Thompson.

Harrell, who battled an injury late in the season, finished his final year with 3,126 yards and 47 touchdowns passing. In addition to those numbers, he also added 405 rushing yards and five more touchdowns on 55 carries.

He not only came back from a hand injury in the regular season to lead Thompson to a third consecutive state championship, but he also overcame a leg injury in the title game to help make sure his team could close out the championship win against Central-Phenix City.

Harrell will join the other two at major Division I universities as he is already enrolled at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alexander beat out Hewitt-Trussville’s Justice Finkley and Auburn’s Drew Bobo to win his award, while Peppins beat out other county players in Harrell and Oak Mountain’s Evan Smith to win the Back of the Year award.