DANVERS — On the run that pushed St. John’s Prep junior Jonathan Thomas over the 100-yard mark during Saturday’s 28-6 win over Catholic Memorial, he had a chance to avoid contact with a quick move to either side.
Instead, he lowered his head and barreled into a CM defender, getting his helmet slammed to the ground but picking up an extra yard.
Thomas got up slowly, hobbled back to the huddle, pulled the grass out of his helmet and bent over with his hands on his knees.
An assistant coach asked if he needed a break. Instead, Thomas took another handoff and ran for 5 yards.
In the eighth week of the season, the fourth-ranked Eagles (6-1) are still running through opponents, and their ground attack only seems to be picking up more steam.
“I feel like the explosiveness has just been adding up,” said Thomas. “I feel great right now. I take a lot of hits, but you have to be tough to be a running back and I feel like I have the physicality.”
Thomas finished with 123 yards on 16 carries, adding a 15-yard receiving touchdown on the end of Jack Sharrio’s pass in the second quarter to put the Prep on top, 14-0.
He almost scored on a rushing attempt in the third, but he again decided to take on a defender head on rather than use his agility to make a lateral move. Thomas ended just short of the end zone before Alex Moore banged it in for the score.
“I had a chance to jump over the kid on the goal line but I just wanted to run him over,” said the 5-foot-11-inch, 195-pound Thomas. “You can’t be soft.”
Moore, who finished with 83 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries, made a temporary exit in the third quarter after taking a shot to the stomach that he said knocked the wind out of him. He returned five plays later and rushed in a 7-yard score, putting the Prep up 28-0.
“Those two are tough kids,” said senior lineman Domenic Hooven. “At times, Jonny has been hurt in the huddle and we’ll tell him, ‘Jonny step off the field, don’t be a hero.’ But those two are just too proud.”
The Eagles have just two games left before they play Xaverian on Thanksgiving, a game that could decide the Catholic Conference. But with Thomas and Moore still running over defenders this late in the season, it doesn’t look like the Eagles will be slowing down anytime soon.