Mark Freeman’s Warriors kicked off the 2019 season in impressive fashion as Thompson hosted Davidson, Clay-Chalkville and Dothan for the first annual Go Gold Bowl to benefit childhood cancer research and the Elaine Roberts Foundation. After Clay-Chalkville took the first game over Dothan then Thompson met Davidson winning in the nightcap, 40-14.
The Warriors opened with an absolute flourish on offense and took advantage of several early Davidson mistakes to open up a 30-0 lead in the first quarter.
Sawyer Pate’s first drive as the full time commander of the offense was nearly flawless as Pate found multiple different receivers and ended finding Michael Pettway in the end zone from four yards out for the game’s first score.
The defense recorded their second straight three and out to open the game forcing another punt, but this time the snap on the punt sailed over the kicker’s head and rolled into the end zone for a safety, giving Thompson a 9-0 lead.
The Warriors’ next offensive possession didn’t last long as Pate found a wide open JB Mitchell who shook off one defender and ran untouched the rest of the way for the 70 yard score to put Thompson up 16-0 with 6:42 still left in the first quarter.
After a third straight stop by the defense Thompson marched right back down the field and into Davidson’s red zone. The Warriors grinded their way down to the one yard line where Sawyer Pate called his own number running behind Brandon Franklin and Jarrett Crockett then cut back and dove in the end zone and the 23-0.
The defense held strong again and Andrew Barbour gave the Warriors another short field after the punt return. Barbour had an increased role off the bench and showed off his surehanded skills. He would finish with two more receptions for 27 yards.
Thompson would score once more before the end of the quarter on a toss sweep to Michael Pettway from three yards out to round out the 30-0 lead. Sawyer Pate would take a seat after a sensational opening period going 13 of 20 for 217 yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing TD.
“The first games you’re always anxious to get out here,” said Freeman. “Our ones played really well and I wish we could’ve played them more, but they played as much as they needed to play in that situation.”
Davidson would finally work their way deep into Thompson territory, but freshman corner Tony Mitchell snagged Jaden Jordan’s potential TD pass at the two yard line and returned it over 60 yards to put Thompson in good position again.
The second team offense sputtered in the red zone, but that allowed senior kicked Evan McGuire to show off his range drilling a 37 yard field goal with minutes remaining before halftime. Head Coach Mark Freeman has high praise for his team, but kept things in perspective on a night that helped benefit others who are less fortunate.
“So blessed to have a good night and the good Lord kept the weather good for us,” said Freeman. “Football is a great game you can play to make you a better person, but it’s not a real battle. These kids out here are fighting the real battles and I’m glad we could raise awareness for them tonight.”
Alabaster City Schools superintendent Wayne Vickers was also thrilled with the turnout and the event’s accomplishments on the night.
“I thought it was a great success, hats off to our athletic department, high school staff and the entire Alabaster community for supporting this and what a great cause,” said Vickers. “We hope this is an annual event and we had four great teams here and communities represented. Great way to show off Alabaster and watch some great football for a good cause.”
JB Mitchell led all skill players with two receptions for 78 yards and a TD. Jarrett Crockett showed great prowess catching the ball out of the backfield and finished with 66 yards of total offense and a rushing TD. Tre Roberson also caught two passes for 33 yards on Thompson’s final TD drive. Michael Pettway finished with three receptions for 21 yard and a TD.
Thompson will return to Warrior Stadium next Friday, August 30 when they face the Foley Lions in a rematch from last year at 7 p.m.