Two years ago, Sam Thomasson was a linebacker on the Columbus East freshman football team until midway through the season.
The Olympians varsity kicker at the time became ineligible, and East coach Bob Gaddis needed someone to kick for the team the rest of the season. So he pulled up Thomasson.
Since then, Thomasson has been a model of consistency for the Olympians. The junior has made 198 of 204 extra points in his career.
“He’s being real consistent,” Gaddis said. “It all starts with the guys up front and a good snapper. Those guys have a lot of confidence in each other right now. The key is, Sam has confidence. He’s been kicking very well.”
This year, Thomasson is 84 of 86 on extra points, with misses coming in the first four games. He has made 69 consecutive extra points and is 30 for 30 in the postseason.
Thomasson credits much of that success to sophomore long snapper Jake O’Connor and junior holder Jonah Wichman.
“I’ve had good snaps, good holds,” Thomasson said. “Also, the line that blocks for me has done a great job this year. I haven’t had any blocked this year, so that’s good. Coach always says, ‘Practice like you play,’ so that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Thomasson also has been more consistent on kickoffs this season. He has 16 touchbacks after having only seven last year.
Just as important, Gaddis said Thomasson has been getting more height on his kickoffs, allowing the coverage unit more time to get downfield to make tackles.
“I think I’ve definitely had a better season than I had last year,” Thomasson said. “I’ve been working a lot on getting my leg stronger and getting height on the ball, and I think I’ve accomplished that.”
One thing Thomasson hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to do is kick field goals. He was 0 for 2 last season and is 1 for 1 this year with a 30-yarder in East’s only loss of the season against Columbus North.
In practice, Thomasson has connected from as long as 53 yards.
“We’ll attempt one every Thursday night and put a little pressure on him,” Gaddis said. “We’ve been pretty good in the red zone and haven’t had to do it, but we could.”
Thomasson, who also plays hockey for the Columbus Icemen, is planning to try to play football in college. But he hopes to play two more games this year — beginning with Friday night’s semistate battle against Cathedral at Indianapolis Tech — before another big offseason and senior year.
Class 5A No. 5 Cathedral figures to give the 5A No. 2 Olympians their toughest test of the season. It’s a game that could come down to a field goal or extra point.
“Hopefully not,” Thomasson said. “Hopefully, we just flat-out beat them. But if it does, I hope I make it.”
Name: Sam Thomasson
School: Columbus East
Key stats: 1 for 1 on field goals, 84 of 86 on extra points, 16 touchbacks on kickoffs