The Thompson Warriors started region play off with a bang on Senior Night as they welcomed the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats to Warrior Stadium. Thompson ran up a 42-0 lead by halftime and put it in cruise the rest of the way as they moved to 3-0 and 1-0 in Region 3 with a 49-7 victory Friday, Sept 4.
“Very proud of our team and coaches,” said Warriors head coach Mark Freeman. “It was a great effort and I am glad we got to play a lot of our young guys.”
Conner Harrell was a cool customer in the pocket and had his best performance of the year so far as he spread it around to all of his receivers in the first half. It would be his legs that would get Thompson in the red zone for the first time though as he ripped off a 25 yard run to get the Warriors to the six yard line before hitting Ryan Peppins for a quick score.
JB Mitchell, Peppins and Tre Roberson all went for 70 yards or more in the first half as Thompson moved up and down the field with ease. It was Roberson who would hit pay dirt next as Harrell found him for a six yard TD on the next drive. Roberson led the Warriors with 80 yards on five receptions in the first half and finished with those same stats.
Mitchell got into the act next as Harrell sent a missile to his favorite target across the middle. JB then cut up the field and dragged a couple of defenders into the end zone with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. He would also finish with five catches for 70 yards, all in the first half.
It was a night where Thompson could’ve named their score as the defense had a second consecutive strong showing and began the game forcing four consecutive three-and-outs. Senior defensive end Kobe Stewart came up big with two fumble recoveries in the game and the Warriors even blocked a punt in the second quarter to give themselves a short field.
Brandon Franklin would take it in from 16 and two yards and led the Warriors with 46 rushing yards on just 4 carries. The night belonged to Ryan Peppins, however, who was electric every time he touched the ball.
Peppins turned a routine catch into the 70 yard play of the game as he cut inside then bounced it back to the sideline beating his man and racing past every remaining Wildcat defender to bring the crowd to its feet. He wasn’t done either.
Harrell would line him up once more across the middle two minutes into the second half from the Wildcats’ 29 yard line. Peppins, crossing left to right, stopped on a dime losing a couple of defenders and dashed the other direction into the left corner of the end zone to give Thompson its final touchdown and a 49-0 lead.
The Warrior defense was absolutely stellar and allowed just eight yards in the first half and 100 total for the game. Peter Woods and Jeremiah Alexander were nearly unblockable again as they both nabbed a sack while Woods claimed six tackles and two for loss to lead the team. Alexander would finish with five tackles, 1.5 for loss.
Connor Harrell would finish 18-23 for 296 yards and five TDs for his most efficient game of the season so far. The first year starter also has yet to throw an interception, but has tossed ten TDs and run for two more. Sam Reynolds also had a great all-around game collecting 38 receiving yards plus another 24 on the ground.
The Warriors will head back out on the road for their next region game at Spain Park scheduled for Friday, Sept 11 at 7 p.m.