By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA
Auburn, AL – The last time Thompson High School and Auburn High School met on the football field, the Warriors needed a miracle comeback in the final 18 seconds to win the 2020 Class 7A championship.
The Warriors (11-3) endured was no such drama this time as Thompson defeated Auburn 49-24 Wednesday night at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium to win the Super 7 Class 7A state football title for the fourth straight year.
Thompson scored on its first three possessions, while forcing Auburn into three-and-out on the Tigers’ first four, and built a 21-0 lead in the game’s first 11 minutes. At the end of the first quarter, Auburn has 6 yards of total offense and Thompson had three touchdowns.
“Our coaches put together an amazing game plan, and we executed it,” Thompson senior defensive lineman Peter Woods said. “We did our part. We complemented each other.”
Thompson became the first school in the AHSAA to win four straight state titles in the AHSAA’s largest classification since Hoover won four in a row from 2002-05 in 6A. Thompson is the first school to win four consecutive football titles since the AHSAA went to a seven-classification system in 2015.
“It’s a special year,” Thompson coach Mark Freeman said.
Thompson quarterback Trent Seaborn, an eighth grader, threw touchdown passes of 49 yards to Kolby Hearn and added TD passes of 8 and 36 yards to Korbyn Williams, all in the first half. Seaborn finished 12-of-14 passing for 207 yards and five touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP. Williams also snagged two 25-yard TD passes in the third period to finish with six catches for 142 yards and four TDs.
Thompson’s AJ Green started the scoring with a 1-yard TD run midway through the first quarter, followed by Seaborn’s first two TD passes for a 21-0 lead.
“Field position was huge in the first quarter,” Auburn coach Keith Etheredge said. “We did not get any first downs and we kept having to punt. They were starting inside the 50 about every time. It made it tough.”
Auburn (12-2) cut the deficit to 21-10 after DV Williams’ 17-yard TD run that was set up by Caleb Pitts’ interception of Seaborn early in the second quarter and a 47-yard field goal by Towns McGough with 2:17 to go before halftime.
Seaborn replied quickly as he completed a 45-yard pass to Williams and added a 36-yarder to Williams for a touchdown on the next play. That pushed the lead to 28-10 with 1:22 to go before halftime.
Thompson received the second-half kickoff, and Green ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the first play, ending any Auburn hopes for a comeback. Green finished with 147 yards rushing and two TDs on 21 carries.
Seaborn and Williams hooked up for a third touchdown – a 25-yarder – on the Warriors’ next drive for a 42-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Williams added his final TD reception with 2:33 to go in the third quarter, as he caught a tipped pass, juked a defender and then ran through a tackle for a 25-yard touchdown and a 49-10 lead.
Auburn scored twice in the fourth quarter, a 29-yard run by Tyler Flakes with 5:59 to go and a 16-yard pass from back-up quarterback Davis Harsin to Ean Nation with 1:11 to go.
Seaborn won the MVP award and was honored on the field just before the trophy presentation, but he quickly gave the plaque to Williams. Asked why in the post-game interview, and he said he and Williams had grown close during the season and implied the senior’s leadership helped him succeed before offering an additional reason.
“I just thought he balled out,” Seaborn said.
Williams, a senior, blocked a punt in the 2020 title game against Auburn and returned it for a momentum-chancing touchdown with 18 seconds to go, as the Warriors later kicked a field goal on the game’s final play to earn a 29-28 victory.
Asked which performance was better, he drew laughs with his answer: “Both,” he said.
The performance of Seaborn, Williams and the offense overshadowed a strong showing by the Thompson defense, which limited Auburn to 89 yards rushing, 219 yards of total offense and 2-of-14 on third-down conversions.
Seth Hampton led the Thompson offense with six tackles, Woods added five tackles, Kaleb Harris intercepted a pass, and Tony Mitchell had a sack.
Auburn’s Klark Cleveland led all players with nine tackles. Clyde Pittman completed 10-of-22 passes for 54 yards and was sacked twice.
The Super 7 State Championships move into day 2 Thursday with the 3A state finals at 11 a.m., followed by the 1A state championship at 3 p.m., and the 5A title game at 7. All games are being televised over the Alabama Public Television network of stations and is being live streamed over the NFHS Network.