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Thomas thrives in starring role

September 09, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

ST. JAMES - Bryant Thomas certainly isn't shying away from his new role in the spotlight. So far this season, it's been nothing but showtime for the St. James senior running back.

It took Thomas - a backup runner last fall - just one half of play Saturday to duplicate his total rushing output from last season. Thomas ran for 202 yards on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Saints (2-0) built a 38-7 halftime lead on their way to a 46-19 win over visiting Model School (0-1).

"We lost our starting running back (Brandon Monroe) from last year, and we needed someone to step up," said Thomas, who ran for 125 yards and two TDs in his team's season-opening win over Maryland School for the Deaf last weekend. "I knew it was a job that had to be done, and I was ready to do it."

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He was ready from the get-go Saturday. In the game's first possession, the Saints marched 66 yards on seven Thomas carries for an 8-0 lead, as Thomas scored from 8 yards out and then punched in the two-point conversion.

St. James never looked back. A 4-yard TD run and two-point rumbler from 5-foot-10, 280-pound fullback Mo Rodriguez gave the Saints a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles briefly got back in it, as Model quarterback Joey Scroggins hit Arthur Hess for a 9-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 16-7. But that's as close as it got, as Thomas ripped off three unanswered touchdowns before the break. He juked and pranced to the end zone on runs of 56 and 18 yards and capped the half with a 39-yard interception return for a TD with less than a minute remaining.

"We wanted to break the game open early," said Thomas. "The line was blocking really well and gave me a lot of space to run."

With the big lead, St. James head coach Daryl Hayes was able to play his backups for most of the second half. After Model cut its deficit to 38-19 with a pair of third-quarter TDs, Hayes briefly went back to his starters to seal the deal.

Rodriguez, who finished with 58 yards on eight carries up the gut, rounded out the Saints' scoring with a 15-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.

"It was our ninth-graders against their varsity in the second half," said Hayes. "We had some trouble but overall it was solid. They got within three touchdowns, so we just had to punch that one in."

The Saints are off to their best start since 1995, when they went 9-0.

"We're working hard, moving the ball well and sustaining drives," said Hayes. "We're happy. We expect big things out of this senior class."




St. James 46, Model School 19



Model School07120-19

St. James162208-46

SJ - Bryant Thomas 8 run (Thomas run)

SJ - Mo Rodriguez 4 run (Rodriguez run)

MS - Arthur Hess 9 pass from Joey Scroggins (Rasco Brobbery kick)

SJ - Thomas 56 run (Rodriguez run)

SJ - Thomas 18 run (Rodriguez run)

SJ - Thomas 39 interception return (run failed)

MS - Umar King 41 run (run failed)

MS - Tamir Armwood 10 pass from Scroggins (pass failed)

SJ - Rodriguez 15 run (Rodriguez run)

MSSJ

First downs1014

Rushes-yards39-14143-277

Passing yards11410

Comp-Att-Int7-21-11-10-0

Total offense255287

Punts-Avg.3-27.03-40.0

Penalties-yards10-755-47

Fumbles-lost9-33-2

Records: Model School 0-1; St. James 2-0.

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