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.