Owls' Thomas signs with Valley
Two-sport all-state senior Paul Wayne Thomas last week signed an NAIA letter-of-intent to play football and baseball at Missouri Valley College.
Thomas, the son of Paul and Kim Thomas of Miami, has been a three-year starting quarterback-linebacker for the 7-4 Owls -- leading them to a share of the NCMC title and the Class 4, District 13 championship last season. Thomas completed 92 of 169 passes for 1,473 yards and 18 touchdowns -- breaking Marshall's single-season record of 991 yards and 14 TDs set in 1975 by former coach Greg Miles.
Thomas also established new MHS career records for passing yardage (2,532) and touchdowns (28), which had been held by 1983 graduate David McCracken. Most of those numbers came during his senior season, when the Owls -- coached by his father, an MVC grad -- adopted the spread-option offense.
On defense, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Thomas was third on the team with 75 total tackles -- 14 for losses, including two sacks -- caused four fumbles and blocked three kicks. He also punted 45 times for an average of 36.3 yards per attempt, with a net of 29.1 yards and a long of 60 yards. He converted 26 of 32 extra-point attempts and hit a 32-yard field goal, totaling 85 points scored.
Thomas led Marshall's baseball team in hitting last year with a .345 average and .563 on-base percentage, belting three homers, driving in 14 runs and scoring 26 times. He was also the Owls' top hurler, the southpaw posting a 7-3 mark with a 2.55 earned-run average, striking out 73 batters in 74 innings. Marshall was 14-11 under one-year head coach Mike Godfrey and reached the MSHSAA Class 3 playoffs for the first time since 1988.
Thomas was twice named to the all-NCMC teams in both football and baseball. He will join a Viking football program which is coming off its most successful season in recent history -- head coach Paul Troth's club going 13-1, including 10-0 for the Heart of America Conference title -- and appearing in the NAIA Championship Series semifinals.