The #3 Thompson Warriors came back from being down to #1 Hoover 17-0 early in the second quarter and outscored the Bucs 48-13 in the last three quarters to get the big 48-30 Class 7A, Region 3 win at Warrior Stadium Friday night.
With the Bucs leading 30-28 to start the fourth quarter, Bucs quarterback Robby Ashford was driving Hoover down the field in Warrior territory but a shoe diving tackle by a Thompson player injured the Bucs quarterbacks ankle and sent the Hoover offense pretty much non-existing from that point of the game till the final horn. Hoover didn't score any more the rest of the game and found out that Ashford is out for at least six weeks with a broken ankle and could put the Bucs playoffs dreams up in the air. Backup quarterback Josh Lundy will be called into action the rest of the region play.
"Win, loose or draw we have to figure out what we need to do to get better," said Bucs head coach Josh Niblett. "I'm worried about Robby and his well being. We need to take care of him but our guys will bounce back and figure out what we need to do. We had opportunities but we couldn't convert like we needed to do in the second half."
Don't take anything away from Thompson because they earned this big win. Thompson scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and that was the difference in the game. "A night where the young guys had to grow up," said Warriors head coach Mark Freeman. "We have a lot of young kids. We battle back when we were down. I'm proud of our kids. Hoover is a good football team year in and year out. Our kids battled back and I'm so proud of them. This is a great win." Running back Jarrett Crockett had a big night for the Warriors with two rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception on the night.
Hoover (2-1, 0-1) scored first in the game. Ashford found Cooper Tullo on a 55-yard crossing route to set up the Bucs first touchdown of the night. With 6:55 left in the first quarter Dylan Betts Pauley scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and the Bucs led 7-0. Thompson was driving on their next possession but had to punt the ball away to Hoover and it gave the Bucs offense the ball and they didn't waist anytime to score again. Ashford reeled off a big third down play for 36-yards and a Hoover first down. A few plays later, Ashford hit Jamari Buye on a 17-yard touchdown and the Bucs were rolling early. With :43 seconds left in the first quarter, they led 14-0.
After a three-and-out by the Warriors, the Bucs offense scored again. Anthony Hayes rolled of a long run of 53-yards but the Warriors defense stiffened and the Bucs had to settle for a Constantine Hontzas 25-yard field goal. With the score, Hoover led 17-0 with 8:44 left in the second quarter but the Warriors momentum started to shift due to long kick returns and Hoover turnovers.
Thompson (3-0, 1-0) scored on their next possession after the Hoover field goal. Sam Reynolds took the Warriors kickoff into Bucs territory and the Thompson offense was setup for their first score of the night. A few plays later, Sawyer Pate runs for a 11-yard touchdown and the Bucs lead was trimmed to 17-7 with 6:24 left in the half. On the next Bucs possession, linebacker Jeremiah Alexander picked off a Bucs screen play to give the Warriors another short field. A few plays later, Pate finds Michael Pettway on a 5-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone and again the Bucs lead was only three points at 17-14 with 4:56 left in the half.
The Hoover offense moved the ball on a long drive and Bucs kicker Hontzas kicked a 39-yard field goal with only :48 seconds left of the second quarter and Hoover led 20-14. After Hoover kicks the ball out of the end zone, on the Warriors first snap from center, Thompson running back Crockett gets the ball and hits a wide open hole in the middle of the Bucs defense and races 80-yards for a Warriors touchdown. With the score, Thompson took a 21-20 lead with only :36 seconds left in the half.
That though was enough time for the Hoover offense to score. Because on two plays later, Ashford hit Buye on a 31-yard touchdown right before the half. Hoover took a 27-21 lead to the locker room. Ashford had a monster first half running the football for over 100 yards and throwing the football for over 200 yards in the first half, but him only playing the third quarter made it tough for the Bucs offense.
In the second half, the Bucs offense kept up the scoring pace but their drive stalled deep into Warriors territory. With 5:42 left in the third quarter, Hontzas kicks a 34-yard field goal his third of the game and Hoover led 30-21. As Hoover was kicking field goals, Thompson was scoring touchdowns. With 3:12 left in the third quarter, Pate had a 2-yard touchdown pass to Crockett and Hoover just led 30-28 heading to the fourth quarter. Ashford completed 16-of-32 passing for 261 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and added 126 yards on 13 carries on the ground.
With now Ashford out of the game and the Bucs were driving, Lundy comes in and throws an interception to safety Gavin Shipman and races the ball back in Bucs territory and Thompson was setup again on a short field and that was the theme for most of the night. After a few plays, Pate hits Petway on a 33-yard touchdown pass and Thompson took the lead and took the lead for good at 34-30 with 7:56 left in the game.
With Ashford trying to make a last ditch try on the bad ankle, the Bucs were forced a three and out deep in their own territory and Thompson took over at midfield for another short scoring drive. With 5:34 left in the game, Crockett scores again on a 34-yard touchdown run and Thompson led 41-30 and this game was over. After Lundy came back in for Hoover at quarterback, the Bucs again failed to move the ball and gave up the ball on a 3-and-out to another short field for the Warriors as they took over in Bucs territory. A few plays later Brandon Franklin scores on a 2-yard touchdown run and Thompson gets the big win 48-30 with only 2:26 left in the game.
Pate finished the game completing 19-of-26 passing for 194 yards and three touchdowns with an 11-yard touchdown run. "This is a big win because it is Hoover," said Warriors QB Pate. "It is a big win because it is on the schedule. Our coaches told us not to get discouraged at halftime. This is a great experience playing Hoover. They are a great ball club. We need to enjoy this one but Sunday come back and get ready for Oak Mountain."
Crockett rushes for 148 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns with 3 receptions for seven yards and a touchdown. Pettway has 5 receptions for 80 yards and JB Mitchell has 6 receptions for 65 yards. Alexander led the defense with seven tackles with 3 TKFL on the night. Shipman had six tackles and the one interception for the Warriors.
Up next, Hoover hosts Hewitt-Trussville while Thompson travels to Hurdmont Park to play Oak Mountain.