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James Thomas leads stifling Falcons defense; earns athlete of the week honors

Posted at 2:08 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 22:04:10-04

As a three year starter for Independence, senior James Thomas knows his role. "I just gotta rally the guys and make plays out there," he said. 

This year rallying the team was no easy task. The Falcons started the year 1-4, losers of three straight to open, but Thomas was never worried. "We faced adversity every single year that we've come out here. I knew we would rally together and we'd get some wins later down the season," he said. "I really wasn't stressing."

Since that poor start, the Falcons have taken off. Winners of four straight they're now in position for at least a share of the South Yosemite League. But with a win Friday over Ridgeview they'd take home the program's first ever outright title. 

While offense usually gets the spotlight, on a team that's holding opponents to an average of 12 points on their streak, second year coach Lucas Lucero says Thomas is the key. "He's one of those kids that's not going to take a lot of the credit," Lucero said Wednesday. "He's not one of those stat guys but he's a team player wiling to do whatever it takes."

This year that meant making the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker. The move has meant teams shift focus toward his big 235 pound frame which allows his teammates to break through and pressure the offense. 

While you might not see his name at the top of any stat line Friday night, coach Lucero says he has all the intangibles needed to make the jump to the next level but Thomas says he's just focused on getting a win Friday night. "I'm so ready for it," he said. 

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