Valley Preps

McGill-Toolen strikes for big plays in win over Central

Spotted at the Central versus Auburn football game November 11, 2016
Spotted at the Central versus Auburn football game November 11, 2016

McGill-Toolen quarterback Bubba Thompson threw four touchdowns passes — three of 50-plus yards — as the Yellow Jackets beat Central 35-21 in the AHSAA Class 7A state semifinals on Friday night.

It was the second straight season McGill-Toolen knocked Central out of the playoffs in the semifinals.

Central (9-2) fell behind 14-0 early in the game, but the Red Devils rallied to tie the game in the third quarter with back-to-back touchdowns.

Zion Webb hit Justyn Ross on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 4:50 left in the third quarter as the Red Devils climbed to within seven, 21-14.

Jaxton Carson tied the game on a 4-yard TD run with 1:56 left in the third.

But the Yellow Jackets, the defending state champion, outscored Central 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

While Thompson did most of his damage with his arm, it was his legs that gave McGill-Toolen the lead for good.

The Yellow Jackets scored on an 18-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bubba Thompson midway through the fourth quarter for a 28-21 lead.

After forcing Central to punt, Thompson hit Marlon Williams with a short pass that he turned into a 59-yard TD pass for a 35-21 lead with 5:01 left in the game.

Thompson hit a 51-yard TD pass to Williams for a 7-0 lead with 4:29 left in the first quarter.

A 13-yard TD pass went to Brandon Hinton with 1:08 left in the first.

Central got on the board in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Carson.

Central had won its first two playoff games in convincing fashion. The Red Devils beat Murphy 56-7 in the first round and Auburn 48-9 in the second round.

McGill-Toolen beat Jeff Davis in the first round 46-14 and Enterprise 27-23 in the second round. Central was the third team from Region 2 that the Yellow Jackets eliminated.

Central is now 1-3 in state semifinals. The Red Devils went on to win their lone state championship in 1993.

They have lost semifinals in 2011, 2015 and 2016.

McGill-Toolen will play for the state championship on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn at 8 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets will play either Hoover and Gadsden City.