ALABASTER, Alabama -- The #1 Thompson Warriors defense was outstanding as the Warriors defeated Vestavia Hills 21-3 in a Class 7A, Region 3 contest at Warriors Stadium on Friday night. Thompson turned away the Rebels offense a few times in the red zone, as Vestavia Hills could only get a field goal in the game.
The Thompson (2-0, 1-0) offense did enough to win the region game over Vestavia Hills. "Our defense played really well," said Warriors head coach Mark Freeman. "We did a great job on special teams and were almost perfect. We played well in all three phases of the game. Region wins are tough, and that is a good football team. We wanted to match their tempo in the game. I wanted to ensure we got all the plays we wanted to run. We have a young quarterback, and we were not going to put him in bad situations tonight. We did about what we wanted to do tonight. We are young this year. The offensive line is brand new. I thought they did an outstanding job. We lost nine starters on defense. Every week, we can get experience and find region wins; it is a blessing."
Midway in the first quarter, with Thompson driving, Rebels defensive back John Mayhall picked off a Warriors pass to stop a Thompson drive. A few plays later, Warriors linebacker Jayden Davis picked off a Rebels pass and set up the Warriors in good field position.
With 2:27 left in the first quarter, Trent Seaborn connected with Colben Landrew on a 33-yard touchdown pass, and the Warriors took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, with Thompson driving again, Mayhall picked off another Warriors pass at the Thompson 8-yard line to turn away the Warriors again. Right before the half, Vestavia Hill went down to the Warriors 8-yard line. On a fourth down play, the Thompson defense rose to the occasion and stopped the Rebels short of the first down to keep the 7-0 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was the same as the first half, with both defenses making plays to keep the other team out of the end zone. Vestavia Hills had the ball deep into Warriors territory on a third down play. Rebels receiver Keown Richardson was behind the defense, but all-state corner Anquon Fegans tipped the ball away at the last second. On fourth down with 3:42 left in the third quarter, Rebels kicker Owen Simpson kicked a 43-yard field goal to cut the Warriors lead to 7-3.
Late in the third quarter, Rebels defensive back Kohen Nelson picked off a Warriors pass, their third interception. "We played well enough defensively," said Rebels head coach Robert Evans. "We just have to find some expose plays on offense. You tip your hat for them stopping our heavy package because we haven't been stopped all year. This was a good high school football game. They made the plays late in the fourth quarter, and we didn't. We turned them over, but we had turnovers. We thought if we could win the turnover advantage, then we would have a chance, but we didn't."
In the fourth quarter, it was all Thompson. With 5:29 left in the game, Seaborn found Landrew in the middle of the field, and the sophomore receiver found the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass play. With the score, Thompson led 14-3. After a few Vestavia Hills plays, defensive back Kaleb Harris picked off a Rebels pass and returned it deep into Rebels territory. With 2:41 left in the game, quarterback Zach Sims ran for an 8-yard touchdown run and the Warriors took a 21-3 lead, and the region win.
Next, Thompson will travel to Spain Park, while Vestavia Hills will host Hoover.