Alabama football recruits help Thompson beat Hoover, make fourth straight AHSAA 7A championship game

Jerell Rushin
The Tuscaloosa News

HOOVER — Thompson advanced to its fourth straight AHSAA Class 7A championship game when it defeated Hoover 35-10 with the help of some Alabama football recruits Friday night and receiver Ryan Peppins.

Class of 2022 Alabama edge commit Jeremiah Alexander was a key reason Thompson (12-1) held Hoover's offense in check and to three points in the first half as Thompson avenged a regular-season loss to Hoover (12-1).

The icing on the cake was when class of 2023 No. 20 recruit Peter Woods strip-sacked Hoover quarterback Bennett Meredith and Alexander returned it more than 50 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

"I feel like we left some stuff out here on the field and we had to come here and get back," Woods said. "We didn't really feel that Hoover took it from us. It's a big thing for us."

Thompson's Peter Woods (11) watches the second half from the sideline at Tuscaloosa County High School Friday, Sept. 2, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

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Woods, with offers from Alabama, Clemson and Auburn, had a first-half sack as the Thompson front put the game out of reach in the second quarter. Thompson forced two straight three-and-outs of Hoover's Northwestern commit Meredith and led 21-3 at halftime.

Western Kentucky commit Peppins caught three touchdowns from North Carolina commit Connor Harrell. Alabama cornerback commit Trequon Fegans and class of 2023 Alabama secondary recruit Tony Mitchell didn't let Hoover complete any deep passes with the Thompson starters in.

"They played like they prepared," Thompson coach Mark Freeman said. "We had a great, great week of practice."

Thompson will face Central-Phenix City on Dec. 1 in the Super 7 for a chance to win its third straight state championship. Central defeated Thompson for the title in 2018 and Thompson defeated Central in 2019.

Contact Jerell Rushin at 205-600-4015 or jrushin@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JerellRushin_.