Warriors Cruise to Homecoming Win Over Gadsden City
It’s hard to believe we’re already two months into the high school football season. It may be even harder to believe that every Thompson opponent in that span has yet to score double digits.The Warriors’ defense held Gadsden City to just 113 yards and scored a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game Friday, October 8 to help their team cruise to a 41-7 homecoming win.
“I️ told them Sunday will be important to come out here, have a great lift, have a good meeting day and practice every day like they did this week and then the schedule kind of takes care of itself from there on out,” said Coach Freeman. “I️ think their effort and preparation is really good.”
Thompson (8-0, 5-0) forced the Titans to punt after three plays and a big sack from Peter Woods. The offense rolled up 49 yards on six runs to start the drive causing the defense to creep closer to the line of scrimmage with each play. The seventh play quarterback Conner Harrell struck with a play action fake and hit Justin Pegues over the top for a 31 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Gadsden City (5-3, 2-3) went heavy with the run as well, converting two first downs, but failed to sustain the momentum once running back Chris Miller left with an injury.
Harrell would take matters into his own hands on the next few drives as he scrambled up the left sideline dashing for 67 yards. The run landed the Warriors inside the ten yard line and Harrell hit Jaylen Ward from seven yards out to double the lead.
“We came out fast, we came out running the ball which sets up the pass, but we still have issues,” said Harrell. “Offensive line, receivers, we need to fix that.”
A short punt gave Thompson the ball on the Titans’ 43 yard line and Harrell got loose again on the second play going 36 yards for his fifth touchdown of the season.
Gadsden managed only 68 yards on 27 first half plays, but found themselves in Thompson territory after an interception late in the second quarter. An eight yard pass play and a late hit penalty later, the Titans stood on the doorstep of the red zone, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Junior defensive back Tony Mitchell picked a great time for his first interception of the season as he tipped a pass across the middle, bobbled the ball, then controlled it darting up the left sideline. Mitchell showed great agility and patience as he cut back right and found the lanes while following his blockers for the score with 37 seconds left in the half.
“We’re focused, we just have to keep practicing hard every day, studying film and really take our opponents seriously,” said Mitchell. “I feel like if we come out and do what we’re supposed to do, nobody stay with us.”
The Warriors would find the end zone twice more as Brandon Franklin produced another big touchdown for the offense halfway through the third quarter. The senior sped around the left end and blew by the rest of the coverage on an impressive 59 yard touchdown to put Thompson up 34-0 with 4:45 to go.
Thompson’s next drive nearly ended with a field goal, but a penalty pushed back a second attempt which just missed from 36 yards. The following possession would tack on the final TD as the Warriors raced 55 yards in five plays. Harrell found Ward in the upper right corner of the end zone for their second score of the night and eighth of the season.
Harrell finished 13-16 for 136 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a career-high 113 yards with another touchdown on seven carries. Brandon Franklin also reached the century mark going for 102 yards on six carries with a touchdown. Justin Pegues led the team in receiving with 46 yards on three receptions and a touchdown.
Jax Van Zandt helped the defense to 13 tackles for loss as he collected three with seven tackles overall, including a sack. Seth Hampton posted five tackles with two for loss while Jeremiah Alexander added seven tackles.
The Warriors’ defensive and special teams units have outscored opponents 58-26 through eight games this year.
Thompson will play their final home game of the regular season against the Oak Mountain Eagles in a match of potentially playoff bound teams. The kickoff is scheduled for October 15 at 7 p.m.