Auburn High made it to the biggest stage but couldn’t overcome a dynasty and a Thompson team on its way to a fourth consecutive state title.
The Tigers fell 49-24 in front of a large contingent of their own fans, but the Warriors’ offense was dominant in a way they could not keep up with.
Auburn High’s senior class will graduate with a 43-11 record, making an appearance in at least the semifinals ever year of their varsity careers.
“I’ve been blessed to coach some great football players. These guys, they’re some overachievers,” said Auburn High coach Keith Etheredge. “They work hard, they have that blue-collar mentality and I love every single one of them.”
Both times they went to the state championship, the Tigers’ seniors fell to the Warriors. In 2020, they lost 29-28 and were unable to avenge that loss this time.
Thompson quarterback Trent Seaborn, an eighth-grader, went 12-of-14 for 207 yards and five touchdowns, good for a Super 7 record. The Warriors’ offense finished with 378 total yards, with 171 rushing yards — 147 of which were courtesy of running back Arrington Green.
Junior kicker Towns McGough sailed through a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Senior linebackers Klark Cleveland and Coleman Granberry were making their presence known, logging nine and eight tackles, respectively. Granberry got in on 2.5 tackles for loss.
“I see them as my brothers and I could always get in there and work hard with them,” Pittman said. “We spent so much time together…I love all of them and I’m going to miss being with them.”
Senior lineman Bradyn Joiner expressed his thanks to the Auburn High team for embracing him after the transferred in from Oxford.
“(They) accepting me in from Oxford even though it’s two hours away,” Joiner said. “I got to play with these guys, who are incredible people and will have a great future.
Through the air, Seaborn’s favorite target was senior receiver Korbyn Williams with seven targets for 142 yards and four touchdowns.
In comparison, Auburn High quarterback Clyde Pittman went 10-of-22 for 86 yards and one interception. The Warriors’ defense broke up four of Auburn High’s passes throughout the night and had two sacks to the Tigers’ zero.
Tyler Flakes and DV Williams were the running back tandem for the Tigers, with Flakes going 70 yards on seven carries and Williams adding 27 on eight carries. The Auburn High offense averaged only 3.9 yards per rush.
Thompson’s Peter Woods said the defense carried over their preparation from the Warriors’ semifinal game against Hoover and that, combined with an “unbelievable game plan,” was enough for them to disrupt the Tigers’ offense.
Junior Davis Harsin took over late. The two quarterbacks combined to go 18-for-36 on the night for 130 passing yards to the Warriors’ 207. Seaborn averaged 17.3 yard per completion.
The difference came when Thompson was able to establish the run, which head coach Mark Freeman said afterwards was a key to winning big football games. His team ran the ball 39 times and passed just 14.
“They were starting inside the 50 like every time and that just made it tough,” Etheredge said. “When you lose that field position battle, it kind of makes it rough.”
PHOTOS: Auburn High vs Thompson, 7A football state championship