As a successful basketball and football player during his three-plus years at South Mecklenburg High, Craig “C.J.” Thompson usually hasn’t gotten into “the whole moral victory thing.”
But last week, well, he had to make an exception.
During the South Meck football team’s 41-33 defeat to Myers Park on Oct. 12, Thompson had the game of his life.
The senior set a Mecklenburg County record for receiving yards (303) and catches (19) in a game, eclipsing a mark set in 1982 by Independence High’s Anthony Springs, who had 271.
Thompson, whose marks also rank second in state history in both categories, also caught three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Alex Adams and notched a two-point conversion.
“I was just in a zone,” said Thompson, who actually had three touchdowns called back because of penalties in the game. “I was just playing hard every down – I would forget about the last play and try to catch passes and run back to the line of scrimmage. I just wanted to try to bring my team back in the game.”
The Sabres’ record dipped to 1-8 on the season, but Thompson’s performance, which ignited a furious comeback attempt that fell just short, seemed to resonate with the South Meck fan base.
The night also was electric for Adams, who set a school record with 392 passing yards. On the night, he completed 27 of his 51 passes for three touchdowns and three interceptions.
The aerial explosion was a change for Sabres fans who’d been accustomed to seeing the run-focused offense employed by
former coach James Martin, who stepped down after last season and was replaced by Rocky White, who brought in a more balanced attack.
“C.J. got in a zone, and I think Alex really started feeling comfortable,” White said. “They quit thinking. You go from that offense those guys played in (before) to being able to have the freedom to throw the rock and really enjoying it, it’s huge. And I think being in the environment in the stadium was awesome for them, too.
“For C.J. to come in here and break all those records, it was amazing. It really was. But I was glad to see it happen to both (Thompson and Adams), because both of those guys are great kids.”
After the game ended, Thompson said he knew he’d had a strong performance. But he didn’t know it was an historic performance until the next day.
“At 7 o’clock the next morning, someone called me and told me I broke the county record and I was second in the state,” he said. “It was crazy passing Hakeem Nicks and all those guys.
“My life has changed a lot since it happened. Some people have called my mom and contacted her on Facebook, and (colleges) have been calling my dad. At church, people were saying, ‘I heard about the record – good job!’ People I don’t even know have been coming up to me in all kinds of places. It’s been great.”
Thompson, who currently has scholarship offers from Coastal Carolina and Western Carolina, also anticipates his recruiting life is about to change.
“A couple of (other) schools probably are going to call me because of that game,” he said with a smile.