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Thompson Warriors close regular season on Thursday at Hillcrest

Next play.

It’s more than a motto. It’s the formula that the Thompson Warriors have used to build an unbeaten record heading into Thursday night’s regular-season closing non-region game at Tuscaloosa Hillcrest.

Next game.

Once again, it’s more part of a formula to success for the Warriors than it is a motto. The approach will certainly be tested on Thursday with the huge win over Hoover lingering in the rearview mirror.

That win did so many things for the Warriors. It clinched the Class 7A Region 3 title. It moved the Warriors up to No. 2 in the state. It signified an important step for the program.

With all that said, though, it was just one game.

“Seasons aren’t made on a game,” Thompson head coach Mark Freeman said.

Seasons are made game after game, which brings us to Thursday night. Hillcrest began the season by dropping back-to-back decisions to Oxford and Oak Mountain before winning the next seven games. The Class 6A Region 4 champion Patriots have allowed just under nine points per game during their seven-game winning streak.

Like the Warriors, the Patriots are coming off a victory that clinched the region title. Hillcrest knocked off Brookwood, 47-13, to claim its second consecutive region title. Quarterback Colby Smelley led the way by completing 14-of-17 passes for 193 yards with three touchdowns, according to the Tuscaloosa News. Sincere Gibson had 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns, according to the Tuscaloosa News.

Freeman said his team is in for a difficult challenge. The Warriors (9-0 overall) attack the challenge the same way as always.

“You got to make that next play, whether it was good or bad on (the previous play),” Freeman said.

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