FROM KYLE PARMLEY and 280 LIVING
BIRMINGHAM â Friday night could not have gone much better for Taulia Tagovailoa and the Thompson High School football team.
And after the first quarter, it couldnât have gone much worse for Oak Mountain, as the Eagles fell to Thompson, 49-14, at Heardmont Park in a Class 7A, Region 3 contest.
Tagovailoa had an evening many kids only dream of. The Thompson junior signal caller slung the ball all over the yard, finishing the game 25-of-30 passing for 399 yards and five touchdowns.
âWhen youâre playing a kid like we were at quarterback, that margin of error is nonexistent,â said Oak Mountain head coach Cris Bell. âWe could not get pressure on him like we hoped to get.â
Oak Mountain (3-2, 1-2 in region) had no answer for Tagovailoa and his receiving tandem of Ahmad Harris-Edwards and Mo Edwards, whose jersey numbers of No. 9 and No. 8, respectively, made it nearly impossible to distinguish which was on the receiving end of many of the quick passes from Thompsonâs offense.
The duo combined for 373 of those receiving yards and three touchdowns, including a 93-yard bomb down the Thompson sideline on the first play of the game.
Tagovailoa dropped back and floated a ball that hit Harris-Edwards in stride, and he ran away from the Eagles defense to set the tone for what would be a long night for the home team.
The Eagles put together a solid eight-play, 70-yard drive midway through the first quarter. Ethan Duncanâs 1-yard plunge into the end zone tied the game at 7-7.
As was the story for many of Thompsonâs touchdown drives, the lightning-quick pace of snaps and the accuracy of Tagovailoa’s arm allowed the Warriors to take a 14-7 lead with under a minute to play in the first quarter after an 11-play drive that took less than four minutes. Shadrick Byrd capped off that drive with a 5-yard run.
Byrd scored once again in the second quarter, this time on a 2-yard run, to give Thompson a 21-7 edge.
On the ensuing Oak Mountain drive, a 17-yard catch by Nathan Jones and a 19-yard Ethan Duncan run put the Eagles in the red zone, but an interception thwarted the drive, and Thompsonâs score late in the half made it 28-7 at the break.
Oak Mountain took the ball to begin the third quarter, and a 34-yard completion from Connor Webb to Carson Bobo on fourth down put the Eagles in scoring business. Webbâs 1-yard run cut the deficit to 28-14, but three straight Thompson scores after that made it 49-14 by the end of the period.
âWeâve got a challenge in front of us,â said Bell, whose team has now lost two straight after winning its first three games. âWeâve got to show what kind of character we have. We canât allow one week or one game define our season.â
Webb had a productive evening throwing the ball. He finished 13-of-21 for 140 yards. Duncan was the most successful Eagle on the ground, as he racked up 60 yards on 11 carries.
Bell said, âWeâve got a week off. Weâve got to get better because it doesnât get any easier for us.â
After that off week, Oak Mountain makes a trip to reigning state champion Hoover. Thompson hosts Pelham next week.