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Thompson Getting Serious Results

There’s no doubt that Kendall Thompson has put in a lot of

work during the spring and summer to get ready for his senior season beyond. It

shows in Thompson’s lean, athletic frame and as a result of his new look the

Carthage standout is moving around field from his linebacker position as good

as he ever has and he’s ready to dominate this fall.
Last summer at the 7-on-7 State Tournament, Thompson

played like a Division I linebacker prospect but he didn’t necessarily have the

kind of look that would blow people away getting off of the bus. Now the

6-foot-3, 225-pounder has lost a considerable amount of body fat and as a

result, his body has caught up to his skill set.

Thompson said this spring he worked as hard as he ever

has not necessarily with the intent of trimming down, but needless to say he’s

happy with the results.

“I’ve been working out hard,” Thompson said. “I’ve really

focused on lifting a lot of weights and stretching to work on my flexibility. I

feel like I’ve worked really hard lately.”

The hard work showed when Thompson stepped on the field

with his Carthage teammates over the weekend in College Station. Thompson moved

around the field effortlessly showing fluid hips and quick feet in pass

coverage and not only was Thompson able to shut down the middle of the field,

but his closing speed and range allowed him to make plays near the sideline during

Carthage’s six games in the tournament.

The Bulldogs don’t run a true spread offense and rely on

a balanced offensive attack, which during the regular season features Thompson’s

soft hands at the tight end position. Last year Carthage advanced to the

championship game of the consolation bracket and while they made it to the

championship bracket this time around, they were eliminated in the second round

of bracket play by eventual semifinalist Lovejoy.

Carthage is now accustomed to 7-on-7 success and Thompson

said that the deep run in last year’s event helped the Bulldogs in their run to

the Class 3A Division II state championship and he feels like that will be the

case again this year.

“It helps the offenses’ timing, obviously,” Thompson

said. “I think the thing it really helps us with is our footwork.”

Thompson said the 7-on-7 play also helps the defensive

mentality. The Bulldogs’ have been one of the state’s top defensive units operating

out of their Tampa-2 scheme over the past two seasons, but Thompson said he and

his teammates focused more on effort than execution at the state tournament.

He said the name of the game was hustle and he feels like

the goal was accomplished.

“We just try and go hard every play of every game,”

Thompson said. “We told ourselves that every day we’re down here we’re going to

go hard.”

Going hard has helped Carthage go 30-2 over the past two

seasons with two-straight state titles in that span. The Bulldogs went 16-0

last season and defeated a Graham team led by Texas freshman quarterback Case


The year before, led by All-State running back Dwight

Smith, the Bulldogs went 14-2 en route to a state championship where they

defeated Celina in the final high school football game ever played at Texas


Needless to say the Bulldogs have faced many challenges

over the past two years and even with Thompson and superstar 2012 recruit

Edward Pope things won’t get easier in 2010. The UIL’s biennial realignment

moved Carthage into a district with reigning Class 3A Division I state champion

Gilmer and teams will be gunning for the Bulldogs as usual.

Thompson said that he and his teammates don’t feel any

added pressure and simply plan on going out and doing what they’ve always done.

“It’s more of a deal like we’ve been there before,”

Thompson said. “I think we’re going to do better than we’ve done the past two


While Thompson, an ESPN four-star prospect, is a part of

a special Texas recruiting class but before he gets to Austin he’ll take the

field for one more season with a special Carthage senior class. This group of

seniors isn’t accustomed to losing and Thompson believes the Bulldogs have what

it takes to pull a three-peat.

“Our whole class is together and we really want to finish

strong,” Thompson said. “As class we haven’t lost a game since the seventh grade

and we want to keep that going.” It remains to be seen if the Bulldogs will win another

state title, but don’t expect Thompson to stop working hard in an effort to

make it happen.