Thompson remains undefeated in dominant road win at Spain Park
Published 10:52 pm Friday, September 15, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – Taking the field with 6:30 left in the opening half up 28-0 on Spain Park, the Thompson Warriors looked at the ball sitting on their own 1-yard line and said, “Let’s go 99 yards!”
Sure enough, the Warriors started a drive that lasted just shy of six minutes, as they marched down the field, converting multiple third downs to eventually score on a 1-yard slant pass from Trent Seaborn to Kolby Hearn.
That was the story of the first half and the game, as everything went right for the Warriors in all facets of the game to build a 34-0 halftime lead and eventually win 55-14 to improve to 3-0 overall on the season and 2-0 in region play, while head coach Mark Freeman picked up his 250th win.
Freeman attributed the fast start to the energy throughout a better week of practice.
“We had to have a better week of practice,” head coach Mark Freeman said. “We didn’t practice good last Monday and Tuesday for some reason. This week, the whole emphasis from Sunday was we’re going to practice good. We had a great week. We came out tonight and played with energy. We didn’t play with any energy last week. So, we came out tonight, I think we created energy. The coaches did a good job of creating that in practice and the kids responded. I think we played pretty good tonight.”
Thompson (3-0, 2-0 Class 7A Region 3) sprinted out of the gate, forcing a quick three-and-out from the Jaguars and scoring four plays later after two runs from AJ Green, a run from Seaborn and a 15-yard touchdown run from Green.
The Warriors then forced another quick punt and scored their second touchdown one play later on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Deuce Oliver across the middle of the field to make it 14-0 in five offensive plays and less than three minutes of action.
With the offense off to a lightning fast start for the Warriors, the two teams traded punts over the next two possessions, but Thompson then saw special teams and defense feed into the strong half.
An impressive punt pinned Spain Park at the 1-yard line.
Thompson’s daunting secondary took advantage when Kaleb Harris intercepted a pass, returned it to the goal line and flipped into the end zone for a 21-0 advantage.
“I come out here to have fun and I was having fun when I did that,” Harris said of the interception. “As the game went along, we started understanding what they were doing… and I just jumped it. We come out with confidence. 0-0, we’re coming out with confidence. We them dogs. We know we have a target on our back, so we have to stay up to that standard.”
After forcing another quick punt defensively, Oliver made another big play for his second score of the half by returning a punt 50 yards to the house to make it 28-0 with 10:51 left in the second quarter.
“It’s what I’m supposed to do to help my team out each and every Friday,” Oliver said of his big first half. “We came out sloppy in week two, but we built off of our mistakes and will continue to do that.”
Thompson’s defense stood tall once again and got the ball back to the offense with 6:30 left in the opening half.
That’s when the Warriors went on the 99-yard drive, highlighted by big runs from Zach Sims, AJ Green and Michael Dujon, before Oliver set them up at the 1-yard line on a catch, leading to the 1-yard catch from Hearn to make it 34-0 at the break.
The confidence then quickly carried over into the second half when Thompson got the ball first and scored 33 seconds into the half following a big run from AJ Green and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Sims to Colben Landrew.
The Warriors then forced a fumble to gain possession back quickly before Sims reeled off a big run and then hit Dalton Willis for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it 48-0 with 8:46 left in the third.
Spain Park did finally get on the board when Brock Bradley stood in the pocket, took a hard hit and delivered a 54-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Bibbs shortly after.
Then, after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the Jags scored a couple plays later on another impressive touchdown pass from Bradley to Andrew Thornton to make it 48-14.
Thompson, however, got the final score of the night when Dujon ran through a Spain Park defender to score from 14 yards out and complete the 55-14 victory.
“We have a lot of new faces. Offensive line is new, a couple of receivers are new, some defensive players are new,” Freeman said. “It’s a process of bringing those guys along. If we can continue to win the games along the way, I think when the playoffs get here, we’ll have some good experience, but right now, we’re trying to gain that and a night like this helps.”
Green led Thompson on the ground in the win with seven carries for 103 yards and one touchdown. Seaborn finished the game 10-10 passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns in limited work, continuing a perfect stretch at Spain Park after going 19-19 against the Jags on junior varsity.
Dujon added 97 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while he also added two receptions for 16 yards. Oliver totaled 60 yards receiving with a touchdown and added a punt return for a touchdown on a special night.
Sims also had an efficient night at quarterback, going 2-3 with the two completions going for 19 and 11 yard touchdown passes. He also ran for more than 50 yards.
Spain Park, still down two top running backs and second-leading receiver Reggie Jackson, was led by Bradley with two touchdown passes and 169 yards.
The Warriors will host Chelsea for homecoming next week looking to remain unbeaten, while Spain Park will travel to Vestavia Hills.