Montgomery Academy quarterback Josh Thomas had a breakout season for the Eagles, throwing for 1,398 yards, running for 1,540 and accounting for 33 touchdowns. More importantly, he led the Eagles to an 11-2 record, clinching a postseason berth for the first time since 2009. MA also captured its first playoff win since 2006.
Looking back at the season, how do you feel after reaching the playoffs for the first time in four years?
“I’m very proud of what we did. It was huge for our school and for our team, just to win that many games in one season and getting to the third round, when we didn’t even sniff the playoffs the last three years. It was huge. It just feels good and is something to build off of next year.”
What was the difference this year?
“Everybody knowing what to do and us believing we could win. Last year, going into some of the games, we were a little timid, not knowing what to do and not believing in ourselves. But all of our coaches always pushed us and told us, ‘I believe you can do it. I know you can do it.’ And so that just trickled down.”
Where did you see the most individual growth?
“I just want to thank my strength and conditioning coach, coach (Gary) Nelson. We put in the work. He got me a whole lot bigger, a whole lot stronger and a lot faster. I was able to run through a lot of tackles, able to finish runs and run by people. So my biggest thing was I got bigger and stronger. I was able to make a lot more plays.”
Do you have any statistical goals for next season?
“This year I didn’t have any individual goals. I just wanted to win 10 games. That was my goal. Probably at least 1,500 (yards rushing and passing). That’s what I’m shooting for.”
If you weren’t at MA, you’re zoned for G.W. Carver. Ever think about that?
“People have been in my ear since the seventh grade. ‘Why are you over here? Why don’t you go to Carver? You would have all the athletes you want.’ But I’m at MA, and I love it. There are good athletes over here, too, and it showed this year. I’m happy to be where I’m at.”
What’s your favorite song to listen to pre-game?
“Probably my go-to song would be ‘Money Trees’ by Kendrick Lamar. I listened to it right before I went on the field for St. James and right before I went on the field for Ranburne. Those were probably the biggest two wins that we had besides Trinity — probably the biggest two wins we’ve had in six or seven years.”
You guys came into the season under the radar. How does it feel now to have the bull’s-eye on your back?
“This is the first time we’ve been the team with the bull’s-eye on our back, but I think we’re still going to be hungry because a lot of guys on our team still have a lot to prove after the Tanner game. So I think we’ll come out hungry and still be the hunter, not the hunted.”
How long does it take for you to transition from the football mindset to basketball?
“I’m getting into my groove. It’ll probably be during the CCC where I’m in 100 percent basketball shape and everything’s back where it needs to be. Until then, I’m just playing as hard as I can and trying to get wins.”