The Thompson Warriors turned up the offense on Friday night in a 63-22 Class 7A Region 3 victory over Tuscaloosa at Larry Simmons Stadium.
Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was 19-of-25 passing for 329 yards with four touchdowns. All four touchdown passes came in the first half as Thompson built a 49-22 lead. His favorite targets were Ahmad Edwards (10 catches for 165 yards, touchdown) and Mo Edwards (five catches for 93 yards with three touchdowns). Running back Jojo Ford sparked the running game with 96 yards on just three carries.
“Offense is learning what to do,” said Thompson head coach Mark Freeman, whose team gained 548 yards. “We were clicking in the passing game in the first half. Offensive line played better tonight. Our kids continue to learn and compete.”
Thompson (2-0 overall, 1-0 Region 3) had a rocky beginning but not much went wrong the rest of the way.
Tuscaloosa County running back Fred Evans opened the scoring on the game’s opening drive when he burst 74 yards for the touchdown. The 7-0 lead for the Wildcats (1-2 overall, 0-1 Region 3) lasted 16 seconds before Ford burst 64 yards for the first explosive touchdown of the night for the Warriors.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tuscaloosa County returner Darren Williams gathered the ball in at the 8-yard line and sprinted 92 yards into the end zone.
“We had some special teams issues tonight, but we overcame,” said Freeman.
The offense played in a big part. Before halftime, Tagovailoa added touchdown passes of 42, 5 and 41 yards to Mo Edwards and a 34-yard strike to Ahmad Edwards. Thompson led, 49-14, in the final minute of the first half but Tuscaloosa County was able to cut into the lead with 11 seconds left in the first half.
How did Thompson counter that late touchdown? Michael Pettway opened the second half with a 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Josh Clinksale scored the final points of the game for Thompson on a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“This was a team win,” Freeman said. “We played a lot of young guys and they got some quality reps. We’ve got to play every week and keep getting better. Our kids keep playing hard and figuring out how to win.”
The Warriors have a crucial Class 7A Region 3 matchup next week against visiting Mountain Brook, which lost to Hoover on Friday night.