Toast of the Coast: Myrtle Beach’s Thomas a special kind of defender

For The Sun NewsJanuary 25, 2013 

  • The team Football Defensive Player of the Year Octavius Thomas Position | Linebacker School | Myrtle Beach Class | Senior Highlights | Area’s leading tackler had 187 total stops, including 29 tackles for loss, nine sacks, eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a defensive touchdown. Led the area in tackles two of his three years as a varsity starter and was named to the SCADA North-South All-Star game. Anthony Blair Position | Defensive line School | Georgetown Class | Senior Highlights | SCADA North-South All-Star selection has multiple college scholarship offers after recording 85 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles as a senior. Naquez Pringle Position | Defensive line School | Carvers Bay Class | Junior Highlights | One of Grand Strand’s hottest college prospects had 92 total tackles, four tackles for loss, four sacks and two fumble recoveries. Invited to Army and Under Armour All-American game combines and could be selected for either next season. Dakota Morgan Position | Defensive line School | Socastee Class | Senior Highlights | One of biggest factors for best season in school history put up 89 tackles, nine tackles for loss and nine sacks for the Braves. Also caught two passes, both for touchdowns, from the tight end position on offense. Malik Vereen Position | Linebacker School | Loris Class | Junior Highlights | The attacking linebacker on a Loris defense full of talent had 98 tackles, including an impressive 26 for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups and an interception. Quavon Bellamy Position | Linebacker School | Loris Class | Junior Highlights | Most consistent player on dominant Loris defense that was a year ahead of schedule had 121 tackles, three forced fumbles, three pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries. Adam Crane Position | Linebacker School | Socastee Class | Senior Highlights | Despite missing three games with an injury, piled up 90 tackles, five sacks and four tackles for loss. Was named to the SCADA North-South All-Star Football game and is drawing small-college interest. Jordan Ward Position | Linebacker School | Georgetown Class | Senior Highlights | Team’s leading tackler had 137 stops, 12 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups, one sack, one fumble recovery and an interception for Bulldogs. Matt Chatfield Position | Defensive back School | Socastee Class | Senior Highlights | Strong safety put up 128 tackles, six sacks, five tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. Had two interceptions, one of which he returned 98 yards for a touchdown against Myrtle Beach in a key October victory. Renard Pointer Position | Defensive back School | Myrtle Beach Class | Senior Highlights | Strong safety spurred Myrtle Beach with 131 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown. Also had 684 yards and five touchdowns receiving on offense. Ryan Bellamy Position | Defensive back School | Loris Class | Junior Highlights | Three-way player stood out especially on defense, where he had 84 tackles, eight pass break-ups, three fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Jack Montgomery Position | Defensive back School | Myrtle Beach Class | Senior Highlights | Cornerback was among the area’s leaders in interceptions (four). Also contributed 64 total tackles, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries as team’s primary cover corner throughout the regular season. Max Huggins Position | Punter School | Myrtle Beach Class | Senior Highlights | Had 41 punts, averaging 39.4 yards per punt. Long punt of 54 yards, and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 11 times. Selected for North-South All-Star Football game.

Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson has seen enough football players to notice a certain attribute when it comes along.

That football junkie mentality, knowing every aspect of how the game can be broken down, is a praise he heaps on linebacker Octavius Thomas.

The Toast of the Coast Defensive Player of the Year was the centerpiece of a Myrtle Beach defense that had another stellar season. And Wilson sees a trait in Thomas that so few high school players have.

“I think OT would be a phenomenal coach one day,” Wilson said. “He’s a student of the game and he has that love for football.”

Thomas was often watching as much film as the coaching staff. He learned to anticipate offensive movement before the play even took place, and it’s why he was in the right spot time after time.

The 5-foot-9, 210-pound linebacker with the bleached-blond Mohawk had the numbers to prove it.

He finished his senior season with 187 tackles to lead the area in that category for the second time in three years. Thomas also had 29 tackles for loss, nine sacks and eight forced fumbles.

It helped him make up for a junior season in which he missed the majority of the year with multiple injuries.

“You have to play every game like it’s your last,” Thomas said of his approach to the game. “I know what it’s like to not be able to play.”

Thomas’ season ended at the SCADA North-South All-Star Football game, where he helped the South squad end a four-year losing streak in the series. And just like every other game he played, he analyzed what went right and what didn’t.

Thanks to the Seahawks’ recent success, he’s had plenty of film to scour. Thomas, after serving as a ball boy for Myrtle Beach’s 2008 state title team, helped the school bring home its sixth one in 2010.

It was a driving force for this year’s team, although it ended in a Class AAA playoff second-round loss at Hanahan.

“He was starting for us as a sophomore when we won the state championship. He wanted to get another one,” Wilson said. “They had a great year, but it ended a little bit too soon.”

Thomas believes the North-South game won’t be his last. He has some college interest, although not as much as he’d like. Walking on and trying to earn a scholarship somewhere is also a realistic possibility.

The game is a part of him, and he’s always ready to analyze the next snap.

“I’ve been playing this game since I was 4 years old and my dad signed me up. Whenever I have free time, I’m watching football,” Thomas said.

However, breaking down football as a potential future coach can wait.

Thomas is hoping he can continue to do so as a player.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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