Jamil and Jamari Thomas were key reasons for Huron’s success on the football field this past season. The sophomore twins have shared and experienced a lot already in their young lives with football sitting right up at the top of the list.
Just ask mom.
“My boys have been playing football since they were 6 years old, and both have always had a strong passion for football,” says Satonya Thomas, the twins mother and definitely the head coach at home. “Their personalities seem to sometime switch between each other every few years it seems. They both have a drive and love for sports, but I love how they push each other to be better.”
And there are differences – ones, of course, a mom can spot instantly.
“Jamil is more of the aggressor and silly when we are home, where as Jamari is more laid back,” she says. “They hype each other up before each game with music and what each other should do. After the game, win or lose, they will give each other constructive criticism and praise along with how they will and can do better for the next game.”
Growing up, maturing, improving and learning are all a team game with the Thomas twins. They help each other out, push each other and always have each other’s backs.
“Competing with each other as we have grown up has definitely made us better athletes because we help each other out and learn from each other,” says Jamil.
Jamari echoes his brother’s feelings and says they are each other’s “biggest fans.”
“Oh yeah, we used to make everything a competition especially when it came to sports and I really do think this had a really big impact with our athleticism,” he says. “I am for sure my brother’s biggest fan. I honestly look up to him when it comes to football because he is so good at what he does.”
Let’s break down the game film.
What do you appreciate about your brother?
“Something I appreciate about my brother is that he always encourages me to do better,” says Jamil.
Jamari says: “My brother pushes me to do better in everything and supports me through everything on and off the field.”
What quality does your brother have that you wish you had?
“I wish I had more of his high energy and consistency on and off the field,” says Jamil.
Jamari says: “Something that my brother has that I wish I had more of is confidence. He has a lot of confidence in himself and that’s something I need to work on.”
The two 15-year-old sophomores made quite an impact on the defensive side of the ball for the River Rats, who this season won their first playoff game since before the Thomas brothers were born – 2002 was Huron’s last playoff appearance.
Huron only played three regular-season games (2-1) and won a playoff game (23-19 at Kalamazoo Central) before falling to Saline (34-27). The River Rats were given a forfeit loss to Ypsilanti on Oct. 9 after an outbreak of Covid-19 within the program. So, really they only lost two games – both to Saline, who have reached the Regional round of the D-1 playoffs.
Jamil, who wore No. 20, had 21 tackles, had five pass breakups and three interceptions in the shortened season.
“One of the highlights was my interception against Kalamazoo,” Jamil says. “That was a big thing because it was my first interception in high school. Another highlight was my two interceptions against Saline in the playoff game. We had a good season. It would’ve been way better if we were able to play all of our games.”
Jamari, who wore No. 9, had 25 tackles with four pass breakups and three tackles for losses.
“One of my favorite highlights is my first game on varsity playing against Saline when they tried to throw a screen in the backfield and I hit their receiver to break up the pass,” Jamari said. “Another highlight was when we played Saline in our playoff game and I recovered the fumble to get the ball back in the final minutes of the game.”
Both players have impressed their coach, both with their talents but also with their work ethic and drive to be better every time they step on the field.
“Both kids are good student-athletes who are very talented,” said Huron Coach Antaiwn Mack. “They are both high character kids who work hard in practice and are very coachable. They also bring toughness and grit to our football team.”
Huron’s turnaround is quite easy to explain for those who lived it.
“We all worked hard in our practices and everybody always did their job on the field,” Jamil says.
Jamari says, “I think it’s because of our coaching staff. We have some of the best coaches in our conference and everything they taught us we showed it on the field.”
Both brothers share a dream of going to college and playing football at the next level. They have a few more years to make that happen and whatever happens, they have each other’s back.