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 Clay-Chalkville 36, Thompson 33 Final | Thursday - September 28, 2023 | Non Region Game 

QB #9 Jaylen Mbakwe (Clay-Chalkville) scoring a touchdown against Thompson on Thursday night

ALABASTER, Alabama -- Quarterback Jaylen Mbakwe scored five touchdowns to lead Class 6A #2 Clay-Chalkville to a 36-33 win over Class 7A #1 Thompson 36-33 at Warriors Stadium on Thursday night. With five seconds left in the game, Thompson had a 42-yard field goal to try to send the game into overtime, but the kick was missed to the left to give the Cougars the three-point win on a nationally televised game on ESPN 2.

Clay-Chalkville (6-0) came back twice in the game after being down by two touchdowns. Down 13-0 early in the game, the Cougars rallied for a 14-13 halftime lead and trailed 26-14 with 3:07 left in the third quarter. Clay-Chalkville took the lead for good with 4:21 left in the game, but both teams made huge plays in the last four minutes of the game. “He played his butt off, didn’t he? We ask a lot of him,” said Cougars head coach Drew Gilmer. “He played some DB [defensive back] there at the end. Heck of a kid, and it’s his birthday. What a great birthday for him.”

Thompson (4-1) scored the first two touchdowns of the game and started fast in the game. With 9:41 left in the first quarter, AJ Green scored on a 7-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, but the Warriors led 6-0. With 5:36 left in the first quarter, Trent Seaborn hit Colben Landrew on a 17-yard touchdown pass play over the middle of the field. With the score, Thompson led 13-0 early in the game. That was a 13-play drive for 61 yards for Thompson.

Clay-Chalkville scored a couple of touchdowns in the first half to get back into the game. With 10:13 left in the second quarter, Mbakwe scored on a 2-yard run, and the Cougars just trailed 13-6. The Cougars scored on a 13-play drive going 65 yards for the score. With just 37 seconds left in the half, Mbakwe scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. With the score, the Cougars took a 14-13 lead. That has a huge drive going 80 yards on 13 plays for Clay-Chalkville, and the Cougars took the lead at halftime.

Thompson took the lead back in the third quarter. Seaborn found Kolby Hearn streaking down the left of the field for a 64-yard touchdown pass play for the Warriors. With the score, Thompson led 19-14. The two-point conversion failed. Thompson came right back on their next possession and scored on a Seaborn to Landrew on a 38-yard pass play. With the score, Thompson led 26-14 and looked to be in control. 

Clay-Chalkville moved back into the game with 8:53 left in the fourth quarter. Mbakwe scored on a 1-yard run, and the Cougars cut the Warriors lead to 26-21. After Thompson went three-and-out, the Cougars scored again. With 4:21 left in the game, Mbakwe scored on a 7-yard touchdown run right up the middle of the Warriors defense. The Cougars go for the two-point conversion, and Mbakwe throws a screen to 6-foot-8, 350-pound right tackle Jac’Qawn McRoy. The Oregon commitment caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, stiffed-armed a defender, ran through a tackler, and found his way into the end zone. With the score, the Cougars took a 29-26 lead. 

With Thompson trying to move the ball down the field, the Warriors were picked off by linebacker Rod Ivy. Four plays later, Clay-Chalkville scores again on a Mbakwe 19-yard touchdown run, his fifth score of the game. With the score, the Cougars led 36-26 with only 3:14 left in the game. "This feels great," said Alabama commitment Mbakwe. "I have to credit to my O-line. Playing for my dad and grandad on my birthday. I was ready to come back on those last two drives. I wanted to take over the game. I haven't beaten Thompson in middle school or high school coming into this game, so this feels great. This means a lot to this team and my whole family." Mbakwe finished the game 10-of-13 passing for 103 yards and two interceptions with 130 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Thompson comes right back after three plays, and Seaborn finds Hearn for a 75-yard touchdown pass play, and the Warriors were right back into the game. The Warriors trailed 36-33 with 1:22 left in the game. The Warriors pulled off a perfect onside kick and moved the ball to the Cougars 25-yard line with only four seconds to go into the game. On the final play, Thompson missed on a 42-yard field goal, and Clay-Chalkville came away with a 36-33 win. Seaborn had a huge game for the Warriors. The freshman phenom completed 14-of-25 passing for 268 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. 

Clay-Chalkville is the first in-state team outside of Class 7A to beat Thompson since Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa knocked off the Warriors in 2016. “It’s exciting, but heck, we should’ve never been in that situation,” added Gilmer. “We should’ve gotten the stop beforehand and then recovered the onside kick. It’s good for our kids to be resilient and not give up until the last play.”

Up next, Clay-Chalkville has an open week, while Thompson will travel to Hewitt-Trussville to face the Huskies in a big region game.

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