Warriors Outlast Buccaneers, Finish With Perfect Region Record
The Thompson Warriors have dominated their recent rivalry with the Hoover, but even in a tough transition time for the Bucs, they still gave the champs their best shot in a defensive slugfest Friday, Oct 27. The Warriors led by 4 at the half, but played a decisive third quarter to pull away from Hoover for a 21-11 road win and an undefeated region record.
“It was a win, but it was an ugly, ugly win,” Freeman said. “When you play these games, they’re ready to play and we have to come out ready to play. A win is a win in this region, and we’re blessed and we’re going to enjoy that win and get a couple days of rest and move on.”
Hoover (4-6, 4-3) got the ball to start the game and looked to grind it out on the run, but the drive stalled out around midfield as linebacker Chance Strown dragged the quarterback down on third down and three to go. The Bucs opted to go for it, but a low snap allowed the Warriors to get in the backfield to turn the ball over on downs.
It didn’t take long for quarterback Trent Seaborn to take his offense down the field going through the air the entire way. Seaborn hit four passes on the drive—three to Angel Jones—including the touchdown to Jones from 11 yards on a run-pass option with 9:49 to go in the quarter.
The next 13 minutes of game clock went scoreless as the two region giants took turns forcing each other to punt. They combined for just 7 of 23 on their third down conversions for the game.
The Bucs run game began to gain some steam to begin the second quarter as they pounded their way inside the red zone. However, the Thompson defense bowed up again. Two runs netted just five yards then another low snap forced a quick throw that was batted down by Peyton Lewis in the end zone. The 26-yard field goal made it 7-4 Warriors going into halftime.
Thompson (8-1, 7-0) went back to work in the second half and got a big boost out of the gate as safety Anquon Fegans returned the opening kickoff out to the Warriors’ 45-yard line.
The offense drove into Buccaneer territory, but a rushing loss and a penalty put Thompson in a precarious 4th-and-12 to go. Still, Coach Freeman didn’t hesitate and kept his unit out there. It would prove to be a fortuitous moment in the game as the gamble paid off. Seaborn stepped back and fired a high, arcing pass down the right sideline toward receiver Colben Landrew. The sophomore made a great adjustment as the ball fell toward him, slowing his pace just enough to let his defender pass him and settled under it for the catch and a 46-yard touchdown for some much-needed breathing room with 10:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Two straight tackles for loss on the following defensive series put Hoover behind the sticks, ultimately going three-and-out with a punt giving the ball back to Thompson at their own 42-yard line.
After bullying their way back into Hoover territory, the offense was set to strike again. Standing at the 42-yard line, Seaborn faked a handoff and set his eyes on Landrew once again. The 6’3” receiver handily beat his defender and again streaked toward the right corner of the end zone. Hesitating to bring the ball in, Landrew’s defender caught up and latched onto his back, but he carried him across the goal line for Thompson’s final score to make it 21-3 with 6:23 to go.
The Warrior defense pitched a shutout in the third quarter and didn’t allow a Buccaneer touchdown until there was only a couple minutes left in the contest.
Trent Seaborn finished 18-27 for 260 yards and three touchdowns and it was a special night for Colben Landrew who set a career-high of 114 yards on four receptions and two touchdowns. Kolby Hearn went for 71 yards on three receptions while Angel Jones added 41 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was helmed by Kaleb Harris and Tyler Hicks who totaled five tackles each with Harris adding a fumble recovery.
The Warriors head into the bye week and now await their opening round postseason opponent.