LOWELL — Johnny Thomas took his helmet off and smiled as he reached the sidelines, his night’s work done with 4:00 left in St. John’s Prep’s Division 1 semifinal win over Andover.
Thomas doesn’t usually show much emotion, but having just authored one of the most dominant 14-minute stretches of football ever seen in these parts, he more than earned the curtain call and the roar of the Prep faithful on hand at Cawley Stadium.
The Eagles entered the second half deadlocked, 0-0, with Andover. Thomas essentially said, “I’ve got this,” and imposed his will on the Warriors to the tune of 208 rushing yards, 182 of them in the second half.
“It felt like the job was done,” Thomas said of his exit. The Peabody native quickly turned his attention to Saturday’s Super Bowl against Brockton, adding, “But the job’s not done. We’re going back to work.”
Thomas worked overtime last night, touching the ball on 21 of the Prep’s first 22 offensive snaps of the second half. He scored all three St. John’s touchdowns and accounted for 225 of the Eagles’ 301 total yards.
He rushed for 59 yards on the Prep’s first scoring drive, plunging in from a yard away. He did himself one better on the next possession, accoutning for all 90 yards on a methodical scoring drive that made it 14-0 and essentially put the game away.
“Once Johnny gets going, he’s pretty hard to stop,” said Prep senior Lucas Bavaro, who had a second half interception.
Andover knew Thomas was coming in the second half and the Warriors still couldn’t stop him. The 5-11, 195-pound battering ram pounded the rock into the heart of the defense and frequently came out of the pile with extra yardage.
Once, an Andover tackler had him by the jersey and nearly pulled the No. 1 off his back. Thomas just kept rumbling.