Football wins for former teammate
The Lumberjacks put themselves on a winning streak this past Saturday when they beat the Northern Colorado Bears 34–14. But while NAU celebrated their latest Big Sky victory, there was a sobering thought in the back of their minds. The Lumberjacks lost former teammate and good friend, 23-year-old Stevon Thomas, Oct. 31.
Senior defensive lineman Blayne Anderson was keeping Thomas in mind through the game.
“The death of Stevon this week was really hard for us, especially all the seniors.” Anderson said. “We were playing for Stevon today. He was a great player and we wanted to get that W for him.”
Thomas graduated in 2006 from Norco High School, where he was a two-year captain for their squad. While he was captain, the team accumulated a 37–5 record. Thomas holds the single season record for tackles at Norco with 155 and was chosen as the 2005 Division 5 Defensive Player of the Year. He also led his high school to a California Interscholastic Federation Championship in 2005.
Before he played for NAU, Thomas played at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. There, he received All-State Region 3 honors and All-Foothill Conference honor.
During his NAU career, Thomas was a 2008 and All-Big Sky Honorable Mention selection and in 2009, Thomas was selected for the All-Big Sky Second Team. Thomas was such a valuable asset to the Lumberjacks’ football program that he was named captain of the 2009 team.
“Stevon was definitely a friend of mine,” junior quarterback Cary Grossart said. “I pointed up to the sky a couple times just for him. We had him in our hearts, and we dedicated that win to Stevon Thomas.”
The Lumberjacks honored Thomas with a candlelight vigil the night before Saturday’s game. At the game, players wore Thomas’ No. 4 on the back of their helmets in tribute to him. The captains also brought a No. 4 jersey with them onto the field.
“Our guys went out and played with a little more passion today,” coach Jerome Souers said. “Stevon Thomas played with great passion.”
Thomas kept in touch with many his former coaches and teammates. In fact, coach Souers’ last memory of Thomas was a conversation with him two days before he passed away. The NAU Lumberjacks had just beaten Sacramento State in a close and exciting game, and Thomas was as excited a fan as any.
“We had a big win at Sac State and we talked to Stevon after that game,” Souers said. “He was really excited we won because he was from California and it gave him some bragging rights.”
All of my stories have been published through the Northern Arizona University newspaper, The Lumberjack. If you would like to find these stories on the Lumberjack website, you can visit northernarizonanews.com