Defending state champion Thompson takes on unbeaten Central-Phenix City in 7A title game

The two-time defending state champion Thompson Warriors are making history Wednesday afternoon as the first program to compete in four consecutive 7A state championship contests.  Mark Freeman’s 12-1 Warriors will face-off against the undefeated Central Phenix-City Red Devils to kick off the 2021 AHSAA Super 7 Wednesday evening at downtown Birmingham’s Protective Stadium. 

For Central Head Coach Patrick Nix, it won’t his first appearance in the state finals. The former Auburn great lead Pinson Valley to back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018 with his oldest son Bo Nix under center. Nix moved to Central in 2020 and has the Red Devils in the finals for the first time since 2019. His quarterback this season, his youngest son Caleb, a junior, has had a stellar season for Central. He comes in with 2,666 yards passing with 165 completions in 280 attempts with 36 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Receiver Karmello English has been his favorite target grabbing 68 catches for 1,042 yards and 17 touchdown receptions. English also has one kickoff return and one punt return for a TD and a pair of rushing scores.

Thompson senior quarterback Conner Harrell  has also had a standout season. The senior, who was injured in the first half of last year’s finals versus Auburn, is 142-of-203 passing for 2,532 yards and 39 touchdowns against three interceptions despite missing much of the postseason due to an injury.  In his absence, backup quarterback Zach Sims completed 25-of-34 passes for 428 yards and four touchdowns and an interception. Ryan Peppins is the Warriors leading receiver with 73 receptions for 1,175 yards and 21 scores.

Linebacker Jeremiah Alexander anchors a Warriors defense that has allowed just 5.9 points per game. Central comes in averaging 43.4 points per game on offense while Thompson is scoring at a 46.1 pace. The Red Devils are allowing only 13.5 points per contest.

Thompson’s only blemish on the season came in a last second 24-21 loss to Region 3 champion Hoover in the final game of the regular season. 

The Flag football contest will feature a two teams with virtually every girl on the roster playing two or more sports for their respective schools.

The Super 7 Thursday schedule has Piedmont (12-2) facing Montgomery Academy (11-3) in the Class 3A championship game at 11 a.m., followed by Wadley (13-1) and Sweet Water (13-0) in the 1A finals at 3 p.m., and the Class 5A title game at 7 p.m. featuring Pleasant Grove (12-1) versus Pike Road (13-0).

Friday’s schedule features Oneonta (13-1) and Vigor (13-1) in the 4A championship at 11 a.m. Clarke County (12-2) meets Cleveland (12-2) in the 2A finals at 3 p.m., and Clay-Chalkville (14-0) takes on Hueytown (13-1) in the 6A finals at 7 to close out the Super 7.