Warriors Stunt Spain Park on Senior Night to Stay Undefeated
Mark Freeman and the Warriors continued their scorching-hot run through the 2021 schedule Friday, September 10 as they made short work of Spain Park building a 35-3 halftime lead and cruised the rest of the way for a 49-3 region win.
”Right now it’s just about our guys doing what they’re supposed to do and coming out every day and getting themselves better and I️ think they’re doing that,” said Freeman. “I️ thought we did a really good job of playing disciplined football, played the dive and the quarterback so I️ was proud of our kids and proud of our coaches.”
Thompson (4-0, 2-0) didn’t waste any time with the offense on the field to start the game. Senior running back Brandon Franklin got things going on a special night for the Class of 2022 as he broke around the left end for a 45 yard run on the first play. Two snaps later he bullied his way for an 11 yard touchdown.
The Jaguars offense quickly found themselves where the Warriors’ first three opponents did—out of luck.
Despite Spain Park’s shifty, deceptive run game, nothing fooled Thompson’s first team defense as they forced three-and-outs on the first three drives. The Jags would average just 2.3 yards per carry on 19 attempts in the first half as the Warriors totaled eight tackles for loss in that same span.
Senior Justin Pegues injected some excitement into the game on Spain Park’s first punt as he took the ball on a short hop and with a running start darted between Jaguar defenders and sped into the end zone for a quick 14-0 lead.
Quarterback Conner Harrell showed off his wheels on the next drive stepping up in the pocket and finding some room on runs of nine and 33 yards with the latter going for his first rushing TD of the season. He would follow that up by finding his fellow senior David Moultry Jr. on completions of 11 and eight yards with the last going got Moultry’s first TD of the season.
Thompson capped their first half scoring with the longest drive of the night: an eight play, 83 yard drive with four runs and passes each. Franklin was unstoppable again adding 33 yards on three rushes including a 12 yard touchdown with 8:48 to go in the half.
Spain Park became the first team to drive into the Warriors’ red zone in the waning minutes before halftime, but the defense stiffened and Peter Woods’ sack guaranteed the defense’s streak of no touchdowns allowed was preserved. Spain Park broke into an uproar as Braxton Sumter’s 40 yard field goal slid through the uprights for the first points Thompson has given up this year.
Sumter also posted a season-high 321 yards on eight punts.
Thompson was again able to get a lot of valuable minutes and reps to their reserves late in the first half and most of the second, but scored two quick touchdowns after halftime to put a stamp on the region win.
Deuce Oliver’s diving 36 yard catch put the Warriors in Spain Park territory and Justin Pegues took the next hand off 30 yards to the house for the 42-3 lead. The final scoring drive was over before it began as Conner Harrell floated a perfect ball for senior receiver Jaylen Ward who caught it in stride and dashed into the end zone for a 72 yard touchdown and the Warriors’ second biggest play from scrimmage of the season.
Spain Park had a chance at another field goal in the second half but it found the right upright preserving Thompson’s 49-3 win.
The defense racked up a season-high 16 tackles for loss on the night as Peter Woods and Jeremiah Alexander combined for 10 tackles and 4.5 for loss. Caleb Ballard added five tackles as the defense allowed fewer than 100 total yards for the third time in four games.
Conner Harrell finished a short night 9-11 for 215 yards, two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown with 41 yards on the ground. Jaylen Ward led the receiving corps for the second time this season with 106 yards and a TD on four receptions.
Brandon Franklin led a rushing attack that went for 200 plus for the fourth straight game to start the season. Franklin needed just eight rushes for 103 yards while Ahmari Bolden added 48 yards on seven attempts.
The win sets the Warriors up for a top 5 matchup with fellow undefeated region foe Hewitt-Trussville at home next week, September 17 at 7 p.m.