Big Catch: Thompson is nearing school record for TD receptions

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 24, 2007 - The next touchdown pass that Chris Thompson catches will put him in a tie for the Sulphur Springs school record.

The key to catching TDs is simple, said the senior Wildcats slot receiver.

"Tyrick keeps throwing it to me," he said with a laugh about the SSHS quarterback. "I'm not going to argue about it. I'm not complaining. I just try to catch what he throws."

Thompson has done a great job of catching what has been tossed in his direction this year. He has gathered in 34 receptions for 531 yards, a 15.6-yard-per-catch average. All of those figures are second on the team.

Where he leads the Wildcats is in touchdowns with eight and points scored with 50. His next TD reception will tie him with Kendall Wright (2003) for the most in a season. With at least three games left to play, he may come close to the career TD mark of 11 set by Rolaundo Wright ('03-'04).

Thompson blends size (6-2, 190 pounds) with speed, having ran a leg on the Wildcats' record-setting 4x200-meter relay team that qualified for the regional track meet last spring.

His size makes him a big target around the goal line for quarterback Tyrick Rollison, said SSHS offensive coordinator Jeff Riordan.

"I think Tyrick spreads the ball around and makes the right reads. Chris is a big, possession receiver and on the goal line, Ty has some confidence in him there because he can post up some people, get off of them and catch the ball," Riordan said.

Thompson caught two touchdowns last week against Lindale and went over 100 yards receiving for the second game this year. He showed he can make long catches, too, with scoring receptions of 37 and 44 yards. He also had a 40-yard catch-and-run in which he was forced out at the 1-yard line. One more step and he would have had his ninth TD of the season.

Thompson also does something that goes unnoticed by some - he blocks well.

"Chris is one of the big, possession-type kids with speed. He's got all the assets," Riordan said. "He can catch, he can run after the catch, he's big, and he's a tenacious blocker. He leads the team in cuts by about 15.

"He can just do things with his speed and size that others can't."

Thompson said blocking is about carrying practice habits onto the field on Friday nights.

"I try to work real hard on that and take it into the game," he explained. "It's getting squared up in front of them so you can read the way they're going to move and then get after them."

Thompson received a few starts at wide receiver last year and caught 13 passes for 188 yards. He then went through the track practices (while at the same time playing baseball) and summer conditioning workouts.

"He works hard every day," Riordan said. "He was here all summer and had a great spring. He gets better every day.

"Chris pushes himself to the limit and gets better doing stuff like that. He makes himself better by doing that."

Thompson carries the same work ethic into the classroom. He is in the top 10 percent of his class academically and says physics is his favorite class.

If he doesn't get an offer to play college football, he'd like to go to the University of Texas and perhaps become an engineer.

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