Thompson shining for Pam Pack

Published 11:40 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Austin Thompson seems to be the All-American kid.
He’s the quintessential quarterback — a likeable football player who happens to have rugged good looks, a cannon for an arm and a girlfriend who is a pretty cheerleader.
The 6-2, 185-pound Thompson, who pulls off the “scruffy quarterback look” with the best of them, hasn’t let success get to his head. The Washington Pam Pack senior quarterback, who customarily has a big grin on his face, maintains an “awww shucks, the offensive line and receivers deserve the credit” demeanor.
Whether he would admit it or not, Thompson has been a key to Washington’s success in recent years. In leading the Pack to an 8-4 record and a trip to the playoffs last year, Thompson threw for 1,072 yards and 17 touchdown passes while completing 53.6 percent (67 of 125) of his passes.
The strong-armed signal-caller, who shows poise in the pocket and plays with a contagious tenacity, is off to another solid start this season. In leading the Pack to a 2-1 record, Thompson has thrown for 504 yards and six touchdowns while connecting on an eye-popping 75.5 percent (37 of 49) of his attempts.
Thompson, last year’s WDN All-Area First Team quarterback, is coming off a career game where he accounted for five touchdowns in a 41-12 win over Northside. He completed all nine of his throws for 168 yards, throwing for a career-best four touchdown passes. The athletic quarterback added a rushing touchdown while running for 31 yards on six totes.
Predictably, Thompson deflected praise off himself and reflected it onto his teammates.
Thompson, whose first pass of the year went for a touchdown when he connected with Dakuan Spencer on a 69-yard heave in the season-opener, has improved by leaps and bounds since his first start as a sophomore.
Thompson, who said participating in a passing league this summer helped he and his receivers get their timing down, attributes much of his success to his mentors.
He may have started out green, but now opponents are green with envy when they watch Thompson play. Thompson can throw a crisp short ball, deliver a perfect mid-range pass or put the perfect touch on a fade pattern.
Like a smart quarterback, Thompson spreads the wealth which keeps all his receivers happy. He’s connected with five different receivers through three games. Four of them have been on the receiving end of a Thompson TD toss.
While he enjoys zipping the ball around the field, Thompson also relishes the chance to tuck the ball and head up field.
Thompson isn’t one to shy away from a hit. In fact, he’d just as soon run over a defender than around one.
Just as important as his arm and legs, Thompson maintain a strong mindset. He’s looked upon as one of the Pack’s leaders.
What makes Thompson so special?
The son of Paul and Ruth Thompson, the Pack quarterback gets a thrill from playing under the lights at J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium, especially when the fans are cheering loudly. Thompson has given those fans plenty of reasons to yell and clap their hands.
While Thompson, who will lead the Pack onto the field tonight when it plays host to Nash Central (1-3), is a solid quarterback, he may be an even better shortstop. He hit over .300 for the Pam Pack in his junior season, and his big arm will certainly gain the attention of some college scouts.
Equally adept at throwing out a runner from deep in the hole on the baseball field or gunning a touchdown strike to a receiver, Thompson will have a decision to make in the near future.
He still relishes that long scoring strike to Spencer to start the season.
Then again, plays made on the diamond can give him goose bumps as well.
With eight more regular-season games to play on the gridiron and, hopefully, a handful of playoff games, Thompson’s focus for the time being is strictly on football. He doesn’t care if he throws one touchdown or four, as long as the Pack wins.
An All-American attitude by an All-American kid.