2012 SALEM NEWS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
St. John’s Prep Junior
One of the toughest runners to corral in the Bay State, Johnny Thomas took his place among the elite ball carriers in the Northeast with a breakout junior season.
The 5-foot-11, 195 pound Peabody native led the North Shore with 1,812 yards while leading the Eagles to the Division 1 Super Bowl championship.
The Catholic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year was the area’s most consistent performer. In 12 games, Thomas topped 100 yards rushing 10 times, rushed for 150 or more yards on seven occasions and topped 200 yards three times including a 235 yard outburst against St. John’s Shrewsbury and a 221 yard performance at Brockton’s Marciano Stadium, a rarity for a visiting player.
Thomas’ signature game came in the Division 1 playoff semifinals against Andover, when he willed the Eagles to the Super Bowl with 208 rushing yards and 3 TDs. He touched the ball on 21 of the Prep’s first 22 plays of the second half to turn a scoreless tie into a 21-0 Prep lead. The versatile performance also had a crucial sack in the playoff win.
A workhorse with an area-high 220 carries, Thomas is comfortable breaking tackles and running over defenders. When he gets in the open field, as he did on a swing pass in the Super Bowl, he showcases 4.5 40-yard dash speed and find the end zone.
Thomas scored 20 total TDs this fall (16 rushing, 3 receiving and an interception return) and led the Eagles with 122 points. More impressive than his consistency was the fact that he moved the chains against some of the best defenses in the state.
Just a junior, Thomas could break the Prep’s all-time rushing record next year and already has a scholarship offer from Division 1 Massachusetts. He’s reportedly drawing interest from Virginia, Penn State and Boston College, among others.