ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) — The signs sticking out of the grass median on Hwy. 31 are symbols of support for a team that’s become one of the state’s best. They’re shaped like football jerseys, reading “Go Warriors” and “Win State,” and they express a community’s pride in a team that has a chance to claim another championship.
Thompson High School plays at Bryant-Denny Stadium tonight in the Class 7A title game. It’s the Warriors’ third consecutive appearance in the finals and a win over Auburn High School will give them their second straight title. In an unpredictable year, the program is one thing that’s remained constant.
“I think this season we have to look at it as a gift, that every time that we’ve been able to get out there on the field and have tickets available, it is a gift this year for our students,” Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Wayne Vickers said.
Tickets for the title game will be limited – the latest safeguard against COVID-19 – but enthusiasm for the defending champions will not. Vickers has seen words of support in Alabaster everywhere from business windows to church signs.
“Thompson Warrior football has always had a great following,” he said. “And now we have a renewed, kind of a renaissance of following – people that have been around supporting the Warriors for years and new people in our community that have fallen in love with Thompson High School.”
The renaissance began in 2014 with the hiring of coach Mark Freeman. He inherited a team that had gone winless that year. After two 5-5 seasons, the Warriors exploded, finishing 12-1 in 2017, winning every contest until the state semifinals. Since then, they’ve finished no worse than state runner-up. They’ll carry a 17-game winning streak into tonight’s title game.
To allow fans to travel to the game and back, Vickers is letting all of the district’s schools out this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The school will begin on a two-hour delay tomorrow. It will give the community an opportunity to take its support on the road.
Kickoff in the Class 7A title game is at 7 p.m.
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