Brandon Thomas’ dominant performance against Elmore County
Published 11:32 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Valley faced Elmore County on Friday with a chance to host a playoff game with a win. The Rams secured that win thanks to one of the newest players on the team having his biggest game of the season.
Brandon Thomas stepped up and produced for Valley on Friday. Thomas finished the game with six receptions for 193 yards and three touchdowns.
“Brandon made some plays like big-time players should make plays in big-time games,” Valley coach Adam Hunter said. “We knew he had this in him the whole year. He’s worked hard, he’s been a leader, and he’s done a good job.”
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No play Thomas made was bigger than his last play. Down late in the fourth quarter, Cam Dooley heaved a 38-yard pass into the back of the end zone. Thomas used all of his 6-foot-3 frame to come down with the ball and give the Rams the lead with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.
Going into the play, everyone on the field knew where the ball was going. In the huddle, Dooley let Thomas know the ball was coming his way. The rest of the wideouts on the field also made sure that Thomas knew this was his play to make.
“When we were in the huddle, he said, ‘Brandon you better catch this,”’ Thomas said about the final play. “They weren’t selfish. They were like, ‘Brandon you’re getting this ball, and nobody else is getting it.’”
There was no nervousness going into the play for Thomas because he has been in these situations before, just not on a football field.
Thomas helped lead Valley to an undefeated season and the 5A state championship in basketball last season.
“I’ve been a part of bigger games than this,” Thomas said. “It’s really just normal. This team hasn’t been to the playoffs in a long time, so I wanted to get them there.”
This season is not Thomas’ first time on a football field, but it is the first time in a long time. Thomas played football early on in his high school career, and then transitioned to focusing solely on basketball.
The transition to being a two-sport athlete has been seamless for Thomas. He fit right in with the rest of the guys since day one. The coaches have also instilled their trust in him as a playmaker.
“They’ve been trusting in me,” Thomas said. “Everybody loves me now because I play football. I’ve been a great basketball player, but they love me because I’m a great two-sport athlete.”
The transition to being a football player came easily because of his close relationship with the other athletes on the team.
Several other players on the team are also members of the basketball team. Thomas has also had a close relationship with players like Dooley, Jay Harper and Ian Crim-Davis since childhood.
Thomas credits those relationships and the improvement from the offensive line for Valley’s success on offense.
“Ever since the first game, our O-line has gotten better,” Thomas said. “We already have that chemistry.”
The trust that the coaching staff has instilled in Thomas has led to the offense averaging nearly 45 points in the last two games. Thomas’ frame and speed makes him an easy target in the red zone and a lethal weapon for the Rams.
“We feel like when we’re in the red zone, we can throw it up, and he can out-jump everybody,” Hunter said. “It’s a good thing to have.”
Even after producing on a high level, Thomas is still looking to improve his game. He wants to become even more of a leader in the locker room.
“I want to be a leader for this team to get them far in the playoffs,” Thomas said.
Even with his size, Thomas believes that certain aspects of his game get underestimated. He thinks that his speed and route running is something defensive backs do not expect.
“They better not disregard my speed,” Thomas said. “I might look slow, but I’m not slow.”
The Valley Rams are set to host its first playoff game since 2019. The connection between Dooley and Thomas as well as the other playmakers on the team will be key in the length of Valley’s playoff run.
“They’re putting up numbers right now, and that’s a good thing,” Hunter said. “We’re not one-dimensional. We can throw the football and we can run it.”