Thompson (Alabaster, Ala.) High School faced certain defeat in Wednesday’s Alabama 7A state championship game against Auburn (Auburn, Ala.) High School.
The 13-0 Warriors, ranked No. 1 in the state of Alabama and No. 6 in the nation by MaxPreps, faced a seemingly insurmountable deficit against the 11-1 Tigers, who commanded a 28-19 lead with less than a minute remaining in the game. It seemed as if Auburn, ranked third in the state, would win its first ever state title (ironically, at the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium).
Somehow, some way, Thompson managed to erase that nine-point deficit with fewer than 30 seconds to win 29-28, giving the school its second straight state title. Here’s how it happened:
It all started when Auburn, up nine points with 1:19 of game time left, attempted to run out the clock; the team took several knees, backing them up to midfield, in an attempt to leave as little time as possible for a comeback. It was when the team punted near midfield — with the clock winding down toward 30 seconds till end of regulation — that the improbable comeback began.
Junior safety Ahmari Bolden blocked the punt, recovered the fumble and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown, giving Thompson a touchdown and narrowing Auburn’s lead to 28-26 with 18 seconds left.
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Your 7A AHSAA State Championship
Thompson ranked 6th in Nation trails 28-13 in 4th. (Lost QB in 1H)
Scores TD with 9:00 to make it 28-19. Goes for 2 and fails.
No hope for the rest of the game. Auburn is running the clock out and then…… pic.twitter.com/7yYxYd4od7
— JP’s Atomic Lock (@atomic_lock) December 3, 2020
One play later, senior defensive back Gavin Shipman recovered a Warriors onside kick, giving them the ball at the Auburn 46 with 18 seconds remaining to get into field goal range for the game-winning field goal:
Two defensive pass interferences moved Thompson to the 18-yard line with 4 seconds remaining, giving the Warriors a chance to kick a walk-off 35-yard field goal.
Junior Trevor Hardy, listed as a safety on Thompson’s MaxPreps site, kicked the 35-yarder to seal the incredible comeback and give Thompson the 29-28 win.
And here’s the entire sequence just in case you can’t believe what you just saw (complete with Thompson storming the field):
The sequence was so incredible it even earned a nod from Scott Van Pelt on ESPN’s late-night SportsCenter show:
In all, Thompson reportedly ran 53 plays for 253 yards, compared to Auburn’s 64 plays for 258 yards. Either way, those stats that don’t do justice to one of the most incredible comebacks in football, regardless of level.