Warriots Shut Out 6A #1 Mountain Brook on Homecoming
The Warriors returned home to host the number one team in 6A for the second time this season and wasted no time jumping out to a huge lead on Mountain Brook and cruised through the second half for a homecoming win in front of a packed house. The defense had held two opponents to a touchdown or less this season, but posted their most dominant performance of the season and shut out the former region foe, 31-0.
The Spartans received the ball first moving down the field for a couple of first downs, but that would be as far as they would get for the rest of the half. The defense forced four three-and-outs the rest of the way and allowed only three total yards in the first two quarters. The Warriors made a living in Mountain Brook’s backfield disrupting what, to that point, had been one of the most efficient run attacks in the state.
Jeremiah Alexander led the team with 6.5 tackles, including two for loss and a fumble recovery as the Warriors’ four man front hemmed in the Spartans from every angle. Nate Riddle also had a big sack to go along with his four tackles that ended another first half drive from Mountain Brook.
Thompson’s offense looked smooth again and did all their damage in the first half. The Warriors scored three touchdowns in the last six minutes of the first quarter with Jarrett Crockett taking the first in from 27 yards out, his seventh of the season so far. Connor Harrell was simply sensational as he had his most efficient half of the season by far. The junior QB only had one miss it’s mark before halftime going 15 of 16 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
His first would come on the Warriors’ second drive as he connected with fellow junior Ryan Peppins on a long bomb for the second consecutive week. This time, Harrell would find Peppins perfectly in stride as he blazed through the end zone to give Thompson a 14-0 lead. Ryan led all receivers with three catches for 77 yards--all in the first half.
Senior Zach Johnson has seen his role increase as the season and has stepped up when needed. That time came again with seconds to go in the first quarter as Harrell zipped a seven yard TD his way to give the Warriors a 21-0 lead and Johnson his second score of the year. He would finish with 24 yards on two receptions.
Sam Reynolds had another good overall game collecting 43 yards on 3 receptions while running for 19 more. With 3:37 to go in the first half, Reynolds sped into the end zone for his third rushing TD of the year and his sixth time hitting pay dirt overall.
The defense forced another quick stop and got the ball back to offense for another chance to tack on some more points before halftime. Driving to the 23 yard line, the offense stalled and, short on time, Mark Freeman decided to send his field goal unit onto the field with seven seconds remaining. Safety/kicker Trevor Hardy had hit one field goal prior to the play getting his first on the road at Sparkman. The 40 yarder would be his longest of the year and his career and got plenty of leg behind it to send Thompson into the locker room up 31-0 and in full control.
Other contributors for the Warriors included JB Mitchell who added 40 yards on four receptions with fellow senior Tre Roberson chipping in 23 yards on four catches as well. Junior Ahmari Bolden also stepped up for the offense in spot duty. Normally helming the defense’s star linebacker position, Bolden performed admirably at running back leading all rushers with 66 yards on 13 carries as the Warriors milked the clock most of the second half.
The defense was stellar again in the second half, determined to record their first shutout since Week 2 of the 2018 season. Karston Haywood made sure of it as the Spartans threatened in Thompson territory. QB Strother Gibbs would only complete one pass to his teammates all night and Haywood high-pointed a pass headed for the end zone perfectly. The Warriors have recorded an interception in the last three games after finishing the first three games of the season without one.
All in all, the Spartans amassed just 31 yards on the night on 41 total plays while Thompson racked up 375 on 59 plays. Senior defensive end Kobe Stewart recorded five tackles on the night. Fellow senior Triston Woody added four while Jax Van Zandt totaled three with a tackle for loss.
The number one ranked Warriors will remain at home and resume their Region 3 schedule as Vestavia Hills visits Friday, October 2. The game will be Buddy Anderson’s final trip to Alabaster as the coach of the Rebels as he plans to retire after the 2020 season with a state record 335 career wins.