Thompson Throttles Hewitt-Trussville with Big Plays, Wins 42-9
The top 5 matchup between Hewitt-Trussville and Thompson was the defending champs’ best challenge yet, but as the fourth quarter rolled around the Warriors had already put away the no. 4 team in the state and sit atop Region 3 tied with the Hoover Buccaneers. Thompson used touchdowns on defense, special teams and a handful of huge plays on offense to win comfortably at home, 42-9.
”Had a great week of practice and it showed up tonight. Trussville is a good team, that score isn’t indicative of how good a football team they really are,” said head coach Mark Freeman. “I’m proud of our players and our coaches. We had five coaches out this week and the kids gave us great attention. To get through a week like that with five coaches not being able to be out there with them that was a big deal.”
The game began as a defensive grudge match with the game’s first three drives resulting in just nine yards, but Thompson would draw first blood on their second drive of the night.
The Warriors mixed in four runs with three passes as Conner Harrell eluded pressure on two rushes and connected with Jaylen Ward for 19 yards and Ryan Peppins on a 30 yard touchdown to get on the board.
Hewitt-Trussville (4-1, 2-1) ran 38 plays in the first half, but it was hard sledding by air and on the ground gaining 91 yards before halftime.
Thompson forced a three-and-out on their next drive and even though the offense was stifled in Husky territory Trevor Hardy put a perfect punt near the goal line that was recovered at the one yard line. And again, Hewitt was forced to hand the ball over three plays later.
The punt only sent Thompson back to the Huskies’ 46 yard line, but they were quickly turned back themselves. With Hewitt at the Warriors’ 18 yard line, the pressure forced quarterback Cade Carruth to run up the middle, but was hit hard and fumbled at the 23 getting the ball back to Thompson.
The Warriors needed only five plays as Harrell found Peppins again for a 10 yard TD and a 14-0 lead.
Thompson’s defense made a massive play again as Carruth faded back for a screen pass. Jeremiah Alexander pressured Carruth forcing the pass and tipped it high in the air at the last second. The tip gave junior linebacker Seth Hampton all the time he needed to run under the ball for the interception and ran it back 20 yards for the defense’s first touchdown of the year and a 21-0 lead.
The team’s traded three-and-outs before the Huskies went on their biggest drive of the half. They used ten plays to drive all the way inside Thompson’s five yard line, but Carruth couldn’t find his receivers and Hewitt had to settle for a 20 yard field goal as time expired.
Thompson (5-0, 3-0) jumped out right away after the break as Conner Harrell ran for 23 yards and hit a wide open Jaylen Ward for a 52 yard TD pass and a 28-3 lead.
The Huskies’ third blunder would effectively seal the game as they fumbled the ball on the ensuing kick return which was recovered in the end zone by sophomore Jayden Davis for an insurmountable 35-3 lead.
Two drives later, Carruth would find Omari Kelly for a 51 yard touchdown pass with 4:36 remaining in the third, but the Huskies wouldn’t threaten after that. Carruth and Kelly entered the game as the state’s most productive duo and combined for 12 completions and 108 yards, but otherwise Carruth went 3-21 for 12 yards.
Harrell would connect with Ward one last time with 8:15 to go in the game on a 23 yard TD pass. Harrell finished the night 15-23 for 209 yards and four touchdowns with 48 rushing yards. Ward led the team in receiving for a second week in a row with a team-high 119 yards and two touchdowns while Ryan Peppins totaled 90 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.
Justin Pegues led Thompson in rushing and became the fourth different back to do so running for 114 yards on 13 rushes while Brandon Franklin added 52 yards on 12 carries.
Thompson’s defense has still not allowed double digits scoring this season and have only given up nine points in the first half of the regular season. Thompson added 12 tackles for loss and a season-high four sacks leading to just 11 rushing yards for the Huskies. Jeremiah Alexander led the team with six tackles, four for loss and two sacks. Peter Woods posted four tackles with 1.5 for loss and a sack while Kendall Franklin added three tackles with one for loss.
”Our defense is just playing great, cant say enough about what Shawn (Defoor) and them are doing on defense,” said Freeman. “ They’re playing hard and, the big thing is, they’re playing almost mistake-free. We gave up some plays, but Trussville made some plays, they’re a good team.“
Thompson will head out on the road after a two game homestand for a non-region game against Class 6A Mountain Brook Friday, September 24 at 7 p.m.