MT. CARMEL, ILL. – Sam Thomas became an instant star last week.

The Mt. Vernon running back scored a school-record eight touchdowns in a 64-49 win over Posey County rival North Posey. You read that right – eight touchdowns in one game.
Wildcat coach Cody Brunson told a reporter that it was the kind of performance that can get you nominated for player of the year honors.

In addition to the historic TD count, Thomas put up some other hefty numbers. Like 287 rushing yards, and 129 yards as a receiver. He even returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown.
Starting tonight, the Big 8 Conference gets its shot at trying to knock Thomas off the pedestal. First up – visiting Mt. Carmel (1-0) for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Thomas even scored on a direct-snap play out of a Wildcat formation. But, contrary to popular belief, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior doesn’t touch the ball on every play.

“It does seem that way for sure,” said Aces head coach Michael Brewer, while cautioning that his defense must honor his presence every single snap.

“They line him up all over the place,” he said. “He’ll line up as a receiver, a tailback. He’ll line up as the quarterback. He’ll catch and return punts and kicks. Where ever the ball is, you’ll find him.

“We’ll have our hands full identifying formations and locating No. 12 (Thomas).

Mt. Carmel leads the series between the two, 14-3. The Wildcats won on the field last year, but it later became an Aces forfeit after Mt. Vernon reported itself to the Indiana High School Athletic Association for use of an ineligible player. The series began in 2001, two years before Mt. Carmel began membership in the Big 8.

The game will also mark the return of nose guard Austin Donnals, who was injured during the pre-season. He will start for the first time tonight.