By ROCCO FANELLA – The football team this year has a welcome addition to the varsity ranks. Starting quarterback and sophomore Luke Thomas has made quite an impact even being named player of the game for his performance versus Laurel Highlands.
It’s safe to say that Thomas has met expectations in his first full year as starting quarterback.
Put into action last season as a freshman when Jake Zilinskas went down with a season-ending injury, Thomas often struggled during his first year as a starter. However, he didn’t struggle in the Indians’ season opener, a 40-38 win over Laurel Highlands.
The nerves, the muffled sound of the crowd in the distance, the shakes, the pre-game songs and talk… all lead up to an outstanding game as starting quarterback.The throw, the score, the crowd cheers. He did it, he succeeded. He led his team to victory. The sophomore turns out not to be as ‘soft” his grade may make him seem.
Throwing for a single-game school-record of 324 yards and four touchdown passes, including the game-winning score to Ryan Hoff from 12 yards with only 21 seconds remaining, Thomas made the Indians proud. He completed 19 of 32 passes.
He passed the school record of 289 yards set by Jake Zilinskas in 2014. Along the way, Indiana set school records for total yards with 535 and first downs with 31. Thomas is starting to feel more comfortable in the role saying, “I think it’s a really great experience especially being a sport I really love. It’s great for me because they supported me all of the way through. Coming in was really nerve-racking as a freshman, but this year I’m a lot more confident.”
Thomas added, “I felt very blessed to be named Player of the Game, it was an awesome experience. The records we broke also belong to the linemen. Without them, the records wouldn’t have been possible. They gave me amazing protection that whole game. ”
[Photo by Erik Puskar]