Former Marcos de Niza quarterback Tommy Thornton has officially committed to the Wyoming football program.
Thornton joined Marcos de Niza his junior year, moving from Parker, Colorado where he played two seasons of varsity football. He led the Padres to a 9-3 season in 2011 with 2,368 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He earned All City/All Region honors for the second year and a row, and was voted first team All State by the Arizona Football Coaches Association.
He reached plenty of impressive feats this season, like throwing for 347 yards against McClintock, or the fact that he led the team in rushing yards in 2011. The one that he will remember the most, though, came in his junior year against Casa Grande; “I threw for five touchdowns in the first half. In the last drive of the second quarter a receiver dropped a wide open pass which would have given me the record,” Thornton said. “I was upset at the time but I got over it pretty quickly as I realized it was more about winning the game as a team.”
They went on to defeat Casa Grande 60-0 that day.
Head Coach Roy Lopez teaches team pride and emphasizes unity off the field, one thing that Thornton could never overlook. “Coach Lopez is such a good coach in the sense that he truly brings his team together as a family. He uses the phrase ‘band of brothers’ and we really bought into that and lived it out this season. We became a very close knit group of guys.”
The Padres went on to lose 22-21 to Cienega in the second round of the playoffs, a game where Thornton threw for two touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 85 yards.
Thornton had 43 career touchdowns with the Marcos varsity team, and was heavily recruited by many notable programs. So why did he choose Wyoming? “The offense at Wyoming is very similar to the one we ran at Marcos. It utilizes a quarterback who can run and throw. They have great facilities, a nice weight-room, an indoor field, and a great stadium. Lastly it is very close to family in Colorado, they could go to all the games and I could drive back if I have time off,” Thornton said.
Wyominghas played in the New Mexico Bowl two of the past three seasons, and has drafted over 45 players into the NFL.
The Padres have seen many great players come through their program, a few of which graduated alongside Thornton this season. Teammates Paul Elvira, Rashad Baker, Giovann Gomez-Makel and Adam Pavlenko earned All City honors along with Thorton, who will always be the first to emphasize the importance of teammates.
Looking back on his four seasons of varsity football, Thorton said the only advice he would give himself would be to never take a day for granted, and never waste a day that he could have used to improve himself in football or in life. After another successful season Thorton now moves on to preparing for his college career, one that undoubtedly will make the Padres and the city of Tempe proud when he once again sports the brown and gold.