Warriors Shut Out Florence, Advance to Second Round
Ever since returning Thompson to postseason prominence, Mark Freeman and his Warriors have dominated the first round of the playoffs with an average margin victory of 36 points—and that trend continued into 2023. The Warriors welcomed Florence to Alabaster, but made short work of the Falcons, running up a 35-0 halftime lead and cruising the rest of the way for a 42-0 win to advance to the second round of the 7A playoffs.
After the game, Coach Freeman was pleased with how his team handled business after the bye week.
“I thought we played better,” Thompson coach Mark Freeman said. “The last two games of the year, I don’t know what our mental state was, but we had a great week of practice, and just asked our kids to grow up and take care of their job. I was proud of the way we played tonight. We made some mistakes and weren’t perfect, but I think we played a lot better from an energy standpoint.”
The energy was certainly apparent from the get go as Trent Seaborn quickly took his team down the field. The freshman QB went 3-3 on the first drive hitting both of his running backs for gains, but it would be junior Michael Dujon who caught a few key blocks, split two defenders on a cut back and rumbled for a 38-yard touchdown with 10:16 to go in the first quarter.
Florence was able to flip the field on their first drive, but a sack from Quendarius McCall stifled the Falcons and forced them to punt.
Seaborn turned to his fellow underclassman Angel Jones on the next drive connecting with him on a 27-yard pass on the drive then a 28-yard TD to cap it off for a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
Another sack this time from senior Xavier Oliver-Avery led to a three-and-out for Florence on their second possession and gave Thompson a 49-yard field on offense.
Seaborn and his crew needed just five plays to find the end zone again, this time finding Deuce Oliver for a 13-yard touchdown reception and a 21-0 lead with 3:41 remaining.
Florence was able to push their way back to the middle of the field, but Thompson’s swarming defensive line stunted the drive once again. This time it was senior Matthew Heard with a sack on third down to get the ball back to the Warriors.
An interception from Seaborn to start the second quarter stalled Thompson temporarily, but the Warrior defense stood tall again forcing another punt after three plays.
A fourth down conversion to Deuce Oliver kept Thompson on the field for their next drive, but a great pass from Seaborn to Oliver three plays later was knocked loose just before he crossed the goal line for a fumble recovery by the Falcons.
Again, it would make no difference as another three-and-out from the defense returned the ball safely to Thompson. After turnovers on consecutive drives the offense got back to work with three straight first down receptions. Three plays later AJ Green plunged in from the one yard line to give his team a 28-0 lead with 3:47 left in the first half.
Freshman Trent McCorvey got in on the action next for the defense, joining Oliver-Avery on the next third down sack to give Thompson a final possession before halftime.
The Warriors moved swiftly again going 45 yards in 7 plays. Seaborn fed his running backs time and again churning up yards before calling his own number on the final play for a five yard touchdown run with three seconds remaining for the 35-0 lead.
AJ Green would take a seven yard score two minutes into the third quarter for Thompson’s final touchdown.
Green would shoulder the load leading the Warriors in rushing and receiving with 51 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns and a career-high 98 yards on eight receptions. Michael Dujon also had a career-high 94 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown. Deuce Oliver led the receivers with 66 yards on four receptions with a touchdown while Angel Jones added 56 yards of his own with a score.
The defense was amazing allowing just 116 yards and 2.8 yards per play. Florence also converted just one of their 11 third down attempts. Tyler Hicks led the unit with three tackles with Quendarius McCall adding two more with a sack.
Thompson (9-1, 7-0) will await their second round matchup which will be the winner of the game between Austin and Vestavia Hills. Next week’s matchup will be Friday, November 17 at 7 p.m.