Thompson offense progresses in region-opening win against Vestavia Hills

Published 11:32 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

VESTAVIA HILLS – A couple of losses to nationally-ranked opponents to begin the season may have had a few of the Thompson faithful somewhat worried about how the rest of the season would progress.

However, it took just one quarter to remind everyone that any team gunning for the 7A crown will still have to go through Alabaster. The Warriors exploded for 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to break open a six-point game with Vestavia Hills and take home a 34-14 win Friday, Sept 2.

Thompson’s defense came up big all night and started the game off with a bang as Kelby Taylor snatched a deflected pass for an interception in Rebel territory.

Zach Sims looked confident and poised in his first region start and easily guided Thompson 56 yards in three plays. He connected with Korbyn Williams on a beautiful 29-yard pass for a 7-0 lead.

Penalties gave the Warriors fits on both sides of the ball, particularly in the first half committing 13 for 90 yards. Still, their defense responded nearly every time.

Thompson’s secondary picked off three more passes in the first half alone. Kaleb Harris came away with two and took the first one 65 yards for the score and a 13-0 lead with 9:20 remaining in the second quarter.

Anquon Fegans also grabbed his second interception of the year as Thompson almost caught as many passes from Vestavia as the Rebels receivers.

Vestavia needed a response down two scores and found one on the ground as they pounded out 73 of 80 yards on their next drive to cut the deficit to 13-7.

Doubt lingered in the air at halftime, but the Warriors soon dispelled all of that as the offense took the ball first to begin the second half.

The Rebels did well to keep the ball away from Sims in the first half, but couldn’t keep the junior quarterback from seizing his moment in the third.

He went 11-14 after halftime for 178 yards and two touchdowns, including four plays of 20 or more yards, then added another 51 yards rushing and an additional touchdown.

His two scores through the air both found Deuce Oliver with darts across the middle of 38 and 50 yards.

Meanwhile, the defense forced two punts and a fumble with the Rebels driving inside the 10-yard line to shut the door.

It was their third consecutive time holding their opponent’s first unit to just one TD drive.

Sims finished 17-22 for a career-high 275 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He led the team in rushing as well with 70 yards on eight attempts.

Oliver also went for a career-high 100 yards on five receptions with two touchdowns. AJ Green added 64 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Jasiah Ward led Thompson with six tackles, while Harris added five with his two interceptions.

Peter Woods tacked on 5.5 tackles with a season-high 3.5 for loss.

Thompson returns home for their next region game as they host Spain Park next Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.