Five years ago not many envisioned Thompson as a program that was capable of beating a powerhouse like Hoover, but Warrior fans not only saw that Friday night but saw the first ever consecutive wins against the Bucs in program history as Mark Freeman’s bunch outscored Hoover 20-0 in the final period to take a 47-30 win and move to 3-0 as region play began September 6th.
It would be Hoover who would grab the momentum early taking advantage of Thompson penalties early on. QB Robby Ashford was almost impossible to stop as well as he ran for big first downs and found wide receivers down the middle of the field regularly.
After Ashford found Jamari Buye for his first passing TD of the game Hoover took a 14-0 lead and stopped Thompson a second consecutive drive to hand the ball back to the offense. This was where the Warrior defense made their first stand.
Hoover again drove into Thompson territory, but Jeremiah Alexander chased Ashford out of bounds on third down to force a field goal try. Constantine Hontzas was amazing for the Bucs hitting the first of three FGs from 25 yards to give Hoover their largest lead of the game.
Thompson’s offense took the field with their backs against the wall and responded. QB Sawyer Pate was calm and collected in the first half despite taking a couple of sacks and completed 17 of 23 passes in that span for 150 yards. He would take to the ground to put Thompson on the board however and took a QB draw up the middle brushing off would be tacklers for an 11 yard TD run.
The defense raised their level again and slowly began to penetrate the Hoover front forcing Ashford into several erratic passes—the last of which found Jeremiah Alexander for his first career interception. The Warrior offense seized the momentum from there.
Pate took the short field and was back in the red zone connecting with multiple receivers before finding a familiar face in Michael Pettway for his first TD pass of the game from five yards out.
Hoover drove across midfield again, but were stopped just outside the red zone by the Thompson defense giving Hontzas his second FG from 39 yards out.
Thompson’s offensive line had begun to get a push and pulled off their biggest play of the year to date opening a gaping hole up the middle for running back Jarrett Crockett. Crockett shot out of a cannon and quickly made it a footrace with the Hoover secondary. A Buccaneer defensive back began to gain on the junior, but Crockett sensed him and made a quick, suttle cut to the right that shook the defender as he ran untouched for 80 yards and the score to take the 21-20 lead.
The score left 47 seconds left for Hoover and an excessive celebration penalty on Thompson enabled Hoover to return their only kick of the night for good field position. Ashford and the offense maximized the opportunity working into Warrior territory before unleashing a perfect 31 yard strike to Buye for their second TD connection of the night with 11 seconds to go.
The offenses were stifled for both teams until Hontzas drilled his final FG from 34 yards to pad the Hoover lead. It would be the Hoover offense only that would be stifled going forward.
Pate and Crockett gradually worked the offense deep into Hoover territory on the ensuing drive and hooked up on a quick out route in the right corner of the end zone to draw the Warriors within two, 30-28.
Thompson’s pass rush got the ball back as Alexander and Montaj Cook began to harass Ashford at every turn. Again, the offense took advantage and Pate and Pettway would hookup again on an indefensible breadbasket throw and catch from 31 yards out to take the lead for good to lead 34-28 after a missed two point conversion.
Hoover drove into Warriors’ for a final time, but Ashford went down on a run up the middle and had to be helped off the field. Junior QB Josh Lundy struggled in his one series capped off by an interception to Gavin Shipmen at the three yard line to end the threat.
Shipmen returned the ball to the 41 and the Warriors capitalized once again. It would be Crockett who would shut the door in the late going bouncing a run outside and racing to the corner 32 yards for his third TD of the night and a prolific night of 148 yards on just ten carries.
The Warriors would cap off the night with a short TD run for sophomore RB Brandon Franklin, his second of the season.
Sawyer Pate finished with three passing TDs to go with his rushing TD in the second quarter. Michael Pettway led the receivers with 80 yards on five receptions and two TDs.
Jeremiah Alexander led the team with six tackles, three for loss and an interception.
The Warriors now begin region play with a win and face their first road test of 2019 next week at Oak Mountain with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.