Hoover and Thompson will meet in the Class 7A semifinals for the sixth consecutive season. Central-Phenix City and Auburn will meet in the semifinals on the opposite side of the Class 7A bracket for the fourth consecutive season.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Hoover dominated a good Hewitt-Trussville team in their 28-11 victory. Hoover had four interceptions in the game, including two by Jay Avery and a pick-6 by D.J. Estes. The Bucs got two touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Noah Shuback.

Thompson moved on with a 21-12 win over a Vestavia Hills team that took huge strides this season under first-year head coach Robert Evans. The Warriors’ defense made big plays when needed, and the Thompson offense was directed once again by eighth-grade quarterback Trent Seaborn.

The other two semifinalists moved on with convincing wins. Auburn beat Dothan, 48-20. Central-Phenix City beat Enterprise, 45-14.

Homewood 24, Pike Road 21: With the Class 6A win, Homewood reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 and only the second time since 2006. Quarterback Woods Ray accounted for 262 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way.

The Patriots, who have won six consecutive games, play at Saraland in the quarterfinals. Saraland beat previously unbeaten Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, 56-31, on Friday. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Williams, an Alabama commitment, had three touchdown receptions, two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in the win.  

Mobile Christian 27, Trinity 13: The Class 3A Leopards (5-7) continued their surge after forfeiting four victories and losing back-to-back overtime games earlier this season. Mobile Christian won for the fifth consecutive game since those overtime losses.

Mobile Christian moves on to play at Pike County, which advanced with a 41-39 win at Alabama Christian.

Geraldine 17, Mars Hill 14: Two playoff games. Two victories over ranked teams. That’s Geraldine’s path through the playoffs thus far. The latest was Friday’s victory over a Mars Hill team which concluded the regular season as the top-ranked squad in Class 3A.

Geraldine’s win sets up an interesting quarterfinal matchup with visiting region rival Sylvania, which advanced with a 48-45 upset win in overtime at Madison Academy. Sylvania running back Braiden Thomas rushed for five touchdowns in the victory, including the game-winner in overtime.

Sylvania and Geraldine, which are 20 miles apart, have met 66 times on the football field. Sylvania leads the series, 32-31, and there have been three ties. Sylvania won the teams’ first meeting this season, 41-24, on September 16.

Sweet Water 27, Elba 20: Sweet Water knows how to win playoff games. The Bulldogs advanced to the third round for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in the last six years. Last season, the Bulldogs won the Class 1A title with a championship game win over Wadley.

The latest playoff-advancing win came over an Elba team that entered unbeaten and was the top-ranked Class 1A team at the conclusion of the regular season. Standout running back Alvin Henderson rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Sweet Water got 176 yards and a rushing touchdown by Lashon Young.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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