Top-ranked Catholic Central suffers stunning loss

Whenever a team is coming off an upset loss, the quarterback can play a key role in getting his teammates back in the right direction.

That's the challenging role for Detroit Catholic Central quarterback Dave Thomas, whose top-ranked Division 1 football team was stunned by Detroit St. Martin dePorres 33-27 Saturday in a battle of 2-0 teams.

The two-time defending Division 1 champions lost to a talented Division 8 team that hadn't beaten the Shamrocks since 1996. Thomas is coming off a season when he passed fir 950 yards and completed 63 percent of his attempts. He worked hard during the summer to get ready for the 2003 season and try to steer the Shamrocks to their third straight state title.

"I went to a lot of camps over the summer," he said. "I went to Central Michigan for a day, and also went to Toledo and Ohio. I also went to Las Vegas for quarterback camp and was at Michigan State for a day."

"You always have to feel good when you have your quarterback coming back," said Catholic Central coach Tom Mach.

Thomas is being recruited by Mid-American Conference schools and other programs including Cincinnati and Akron.

"After my high school season, I'll make a decision," Thomas said. "I'll have to have a great season."

That sounds good for the Shamrocks who hope to lick their wounds from the loss to DePorres and stay in contention for the Detroit Catholic School League title.

"We have the potential to be better this year since we have a lot of guys coming back," Thomas said. "I want to improve on being able to recognize the defense. Last year, I was new at reading defenses. I would look at just one receiver. I've improved on that. I want to cut down on interceptions too. I hope to have a ratio of 3 to 1 on touchdown passes to interceptions."

The loss to DePorres only illustrated to Thomas and his teammates the enormous challenge the Shamrocks have every week.

"We're everyone's biggest game," he said. "It will be tough but we have a lot of guys back from last year."

Thomas, who passed 73 yards to Ryan Mehrer for a touchdown Saturday, has played quarterback since he was in the fourth grade.

"I like passing," he said. ‘I like the attention you get at quarterback. I think it's a fun position."

But it will be more fun for Thomas if he can get the Shamrocks back on the winning path.

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