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Warriors Fall to Buford in Freedom Bowl

The Thompson defense will be good enough to keep the Warriors in every game this season. However, a tough loss to the nationally ranked Buford Wolves in the 2022 season opener proved the team still has some work to do in regards to forming their identity on offense. 

A close game in the third quarter became a sobering reminder that each team is different and has to find their own way. I mistakes in turnovers lead to a 38-7 loss in the Freedom Bowl, but lessons were learned that will carry Thompson through the rest of the season.

The Warriors’ first drive began with promise as AJ Green ripped off 22 yards on his first two carries. Unfortunately, I botched handoff and a sack ended the drive prematurely. 

Buford drove 10 plays including a pair of third down conversions to hit pay dirt on their first drive on a 28 yard touchdown pass to KJ Bolden. It would be the Wolves’ only touchdown drive of the day against Thompson’s first unit.

Both defenses forced stops on the next six possessions with Thompson forcing a fumble and an interception to get the ball back to the offense.

The Warriors finally found daylight in the second quarter as sophomore running back Michael Dujon broke into the secondary. For a moment it looked like he would take it the distance, but was dragged down at the six yard line. Another run took Thompson to the two yard line, but Dujon was rocked on the ensuing play in a helmet-to-helmet collision and fumbled with a Buford recovery.

The Wolves would have the ball to begin the second half, but the Warriors stepped up again forcing a 50 yard field goal attempt which fell well short.

Thompson’s offense looked like it was beginning to gain steam on the ensuing drive. A pass interference penalty and a couple of strong runs from quarterback Zach Sims had the Warriors near midfield, but Sims was sacked on the next play and the ball squirted loose on a play that otherwise may have been blown dead.

But, again, the defense stood taut and forced another field goal for a 10-0 deficit. 

Two plays later tragedy struck again as Sims fired a pass left, but a streaking linebacker snagged it in the red zone and jogged into the end zone for a pick six.

That ended Sims’ night and freshman Trent Seaborn entered to give the offense a spark—and he did just that. Seaborn connected with sophomore Angel Jones on passes of 26 and 15 yards to get Thompson back in the red zone. Two plays later he found Korbyn Williams from eight yards out to bring his team back to within ten at 17-7.

But just when hope appeared it faded just as quickly as Justice Haynes returned the kickoff 96 yards to push the deficit back to 17. Two plays after that a pick six, this time from Seaborn, effectively ended the Warriors’ chances of a comeback. One last drive ended with a turnover on downs. 

Michael Dujon would lead Thompson with 77 yards rushing on seven attempts while Anjel Jones picked up 55 yards receiving. Trent Seaborn finished with 6-12 for 69 yards with a TD and an interception.

Thompson will have an extra day to regroup for their next matchup where they will face Lipscomb High School out of Tennessee next Saturday, August 27 at 8 p.m.


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