The Thompson High football team sandwiched a pair of bookend outstanding defensive performances around last week’s much needed bye week. The latest standout defensive effort came on Friday night when the Warriors resumed Class 7A Region 3 play with a 35-7 domination of Spain Park at Warrior Stadium.
“I’m really proud of how our defense played,” said Thompson head coach Mark Freeman, whose team beat Tuscaloosa County, 35-0, before taking a week off.
Spain Park (1-5 overall, 0-4 Region 3) managed 243 yards on 72 offensive snaps with 77 of that coming on the ground. The Jaguars averaged just 2.2 yards per carry on 35 carries. Freshman defensive end Jeremiah Alexander had three sacks for the Warriors. Senior D.J. Douglas led the way with 10 tackles, sophomore Sam Reynolds had six tackles and senior Will Conner had five tackles and an interception.
The lone Jaguar touchdown came on a 3-yard pass from Mason Pronk to Jalen Henderson with 3:26 left in the first half. It was one few highlights for Henderson, who had 39 yards on 14 carries and 12 yards on four pass receptions.
On the other side of the ball, it was another big night once again for quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa and the Warrior offense. Tagovailoa was 23-of-35 for 300 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 33 yards on five carries and scored a touchdown on the ground.
The Warriors (5-1 overall, 3-1 Region 3) ended the suspense quickly, building a 21-0 lead with 14 minutes elapsed on the clock. Tagovailoa had a hand all three scores. He opened the scoring with a six-yard scoring toss to Michael Pettway. After Tagovailoa added a three-yard scoring run, he connected with Pettway for a big-play 59-yard touchdown pass. It was just of a big night by Pettway, who had nine catches for 152 yards.
Spain Park managed to slice into the lead before halftime but the only second half scoring came from Thompson. Tagovailoa hit Pettway for a 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter and closed the scoring with a seven-yard touchdown pass to J.B. Holmes in the fourth quarter.
Thompson running back Shadrick Byrd kept the Spain Park defense honest by rushing for 104 yards on 14 carries and catching two passes for 36 yards.
The Warriors move on to an important Region 3 game next Friday night against Vestavia Hills at Thompson.
“Great win tonight,” Freeman said of the victory over Spain Park. “We’re fortunate to get a region win. Our kids gave great effort. We have a lot of room for improvement. I’m proud of the week of practice we had and I’m really proud of how our defense played. We just came off a break and it’s time to move into a difficult stretch. Really proud of our kids and coaches. We’ve had great focus the past couple of weeks and we’re excited about our matchup next week.”