Warriors Run Over Eagles in First Road Game
Thompson football continued their stellar start Friday, Sept. 13 as they hit the road for the first time against region foe, Oak Mountain. The newly ranked no. 1 Warriors looked every bit the top seed, scored a variety of ways and wore down the Eagles’ vaunted run offense for a convincing 51-14 victory. Sam Reynolds would get the party started right from the jump, exploding through a hole in the kickoff coverage and left everyone in the dust for a 95 yard return for a touchdown. It would turn out to be a breakout night for Reynolds who was just getting started. Seemingly unfazed, the Eagles drove right down the field with big runs from quarterback Evan Smith and running back Judah Tait. Smith completed a pass out in the flat to Ethan Hammet who dodged a tackle and ran nine yards for the tying score. Oak Mountain’s start, while impressive, would be short-lived. The Warriors’ most improved unit continued their upward trajectory and took control of the line of the scrimmage immediately. RB Jarrett Crockett was patient and sometimes found himself five or six yards downfield before being touched. The junior had five double digit yard runs on the initial drive that would be a tone-setter for the night, including an 11 yard run into the endzone to give Thompson the lead for good. Oak Mountain moved the ball back down the field and slowly approached Thompson’s red zone. That was as far as they would get the rest of the half. Tony Mitchell’s tackle for loss and penalties pushed the Eagles’ out of field goal range and were forced to punt. The offensive line paved the way down the field again and despite several penalties continued to open big holes in the run game. Crockett scored his second TD of the night on a 26 yarder on a 3rd and 10. He would run his total to 113 yards by halftime on just 11 carries. In their 2018 encounter, the Warriors’ defense struggled to find the ball in Oak Mountain’s option offense and adjusted after halftime. 2019 would tell a different story as Thompson locked in by the start of the second quarter. A quick three and out got the ball back to the offense who was also rolling. Every Warrior running back ate their fill as the offense racked up 215 rushing yards before halftime. Jojo Gaiters accounted for 75 of those and Brandon Franklin took his third TD of the season in from 14 for a 28-7 win. It was the defense’s chance to finally get on the scoreboard as a botched toss fell to the ground and was scooped up by linebacker Nate Riddle who took the ball 15 yards back for his first TD. After another defensive stop and favorable field position for the offense Sam Reynolds ended the half much how he began it—with a bang. Sawyer Pate avoided the rush, stepped up in the pocket and fired and absolute laser to Reynolds who was streaking down the middle of the field. The pass hit him perfectly in stride and there was absolutely no chance of stopping him as he found the endzone again. Thompson had outscored Oak Mountain 27-0 in the second quarter to blow the game open. Pate and Reynolds would connect again on a 13 yard TD in the third quarter with Sam running through one defender and dragging another across the goal line. That and a 28 yard field goal by Evan McGuire put a cherry on a thoroughly dominant night in all three phases of the game. Thompson’s 469 yards of offense more than doubled the Eagles’ effort and the 290 rushing yards really emphasized an incredible night for the boys in the trenches. Crockett finished with 121 yards on 11 carries while Gaiters finished with a career high 148 yards on 20 carries. Reynolds would lead the receivers with 76 yards on three catches and all players with three total TDs on the night. Michael Pettway also caught three passes for 75 yards. Sawyer Pate only missed on one attempt going 10-11 for 179 yards and two TDs. Pate has yet to throw and interception and has 12 TD passes to his name. Tony Mitchell wowed again as a freshman well beyond his years with five solo tackles and three of them for loss. Jax VanZandt picked up three tackles and his first sack of the year while Damion Ugbo and Owen May also had tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Warriors move to 4-0, 2-0 in Region 3 and will welcome Tuscaloosa County next week for homecoming with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.