ALABASTER, Alabama -- Quarterback Connor Harrell threw for four touchdowns while leading the Thompson Warriors to a 42-16 win over Hewitt-Trussville in the second round of the AHSAA 7A Playoffs Friday night at Warriors Stadium. With the Thompson win, this is the fourth year in a row that the Warriors have advanced to the semifinals game. Thompson will face Hoover for the second time this season next week at Thompson High School.
With Thompson leading 21-10 at halftime, Hewitt-Trussville was in position to get back into the game. Thompson came out late at the half and was penalized on the kickoff. On the kickoff, the ball was kicked out of bounds and the Huskies started with the possession at the Thompson 45-yard line. On the Huskies first possession, the Hewitt-Trussville offense fumbles and Jeremiah Alexander pounces on the loose ball and Thompson scored on their possession and that score really put the Huskies in a hole that they couldn't fight out of. "That was big for us," said Warriors Head coach Mark Freeman. "We had bad communication for when we were supposed to come out of halftime and we were late so they flagged us. It went from a bad negative to a turnover to the flow of the game change for us and it was huge."
Hewitt-Trussville (9-3) tried a fake punt that came up two yards short for the first down late in the first quarter. Thompson took over and scored a few plays later when Harrell hit JB Mitchell in the back of the end zone for a Thompson 6-yard touchdown pass play. With the score, the Warriors led 7-0 late in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Harrell connected to Ryan Peppins on a 26-yard touchdown pass and the Warriors led 14-0.
Hewitt-Trussville came right back to get on the scoreboard after the Warriors score. With 6:41 left in the second quarter, Ethan Wilson kicked a 28-yard field goal and the Huskies cut the lead to 14-3. On the Huskies kickoff though, Peppins took the ball and made about three moves and raced down the field for a Warriors touchdown. That was another momentum breaker in the game. With the score, Thompson took a 21-3 lead.
After the Thompson score, Hewitt-Trussville came back with a touchdown on a Cade Ott Carruth 7-yard touchdown pass to Omari Kelly. Thompson thought that he stepped out of bound on the catch and the play was under review but came back as a Huskies touchdown. With 4:45 left in the half, Hewitt-Trussville trimmed the lead down to 21-10. Both teams had a shot to score before the half but couldn't get anything done on offense.
To start the second half, Thompson took advantage of the fumble to start the Huskies drive and Thompson cashed it in with a Harrell touchdown pass to Mitchell for a 13-yard score. With the touchdown, Thompson led 28-10 and that was huge the way the Thompson defense was playing. "We mentally prepared for them all week," said Warriors linebacker Jax Van Zandt. "We know that they have one of the best running backs combos in the state. So finding tendencies what they do and knowing that it is going to be a difficult game. A lot of preparation goes into a game like this. When you have time to get the physical work in practice, you have to take advantage of it because you know it is going to be that way in the game."
With 3:24 left in the third quarter, Harrell hit Sam Reynolds on a 21-yard touchdown pass play and the Warriors broke open the game to 35-10 late in the third quarter. With 9:36 left in the fourth quarter, Jarrett Crockett raced 4-yards around the left end and diving in the corner of the end zone for a score. With the touchdown, the Warriors led 42-10. Hewitt-Trussville came right back with a score, Carruth found Sean Jackson on a 15-yard touchdown pass play for the Huskies for a final score of 42-16.
"I thought we had great effort in the game, but just made two many mistakes," said Huskies Head coach Josh Floyd. "I love this group of seniors and I'm going to miss them. Thompson outplayed us tonight."
Thompson had 453 total yards in the game while Hewitt-Trussville had 383 total yards. Connor Harrell completed 14-of-22 passing for 175 yards and the four touchdowns on the night. Linebacker Alexander had five tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the Warriors.
Up next for the undefeated Thompson Warriors is a rematch with the Hoover Bucs at Warriors Stadium. Thompson defeated Hoover during the regular season.