His Gainesville High team, tied for No. 3 in Class 6A with Daytona Beach Mainland in the AP state poll, plays a preseason Kickoff Classic at 7 at DP.
Thomson's second GHS team has a chance to be as good or better with a cast that includes UF commit Chris Thompson at receiver.
"It's going to be special coming back to my alma mater," Thomson said Tuesday. "I'm just looking for how my players respond under the lights. Bill Spoone Stadium is a great place to find that out."
Thomson, 29, arrived at DP as a ninth grader in 1996 when current Panthers coach Rodney Wells was a star senior linebacker.
"I looked up to him like everybody did because he was such a good player," Thomson said.
Thomson, who finished college at UCF, was an assistant for Edgewater (2004-07) and Jones (2008-09) before landing his first head coaching job at Orange County's Cornerstone Charter School two years ago.
The calendar said Colonial's 4A cross country championship season of 2011 ended after last November's state meet. In reality, running never really ends for dedicated distance guys. The Grenadiers log major miles year-round in a regimen that bridges the cross and track and field seasons and extends through the summer.
"We took a two-week break after state cross country, and then another two weeks off at the beginning of summer," said senior Caleb Licht. "Other than that we're running six days a week."
The Grenadiers met at 7 a.m. to go 7-8 miles on a typical summer weekday and started even earlier on Saturday morning runs covering 10-12 miles. Prep races are 5,000 meters, just over 3.1 miles.
Colonial is again the state favorite, with eight of its top 10 runners and three of its fastest four back, led by individual state champ Andres Arroyo, Licht, Raul Ramerez and John Profitt.
Virtuoso coach Rene Plasencia, entering his 13th year at Colonial, continued to train with his runners while running a political race. Last week, he lost a close Republican primary election to Marco Peña in a bid for a seat in the state House of Representatives.
Colonial opens its 2012 season at Friday night's preseason Coach Ted Benz Jamboree at Orlando's Trotter's Park.
PrepVolleyball.com rates loaded Winter Park No. 41 — tops for Florida — in its preseason girls volleyball national top 100. On Thursday night the Wildcats play a preseason match at home against No. 66 Bishop Moore, which was the area's best at 29-2 last season. First Academy, vieing for its third state title in five seasons, is No. 96. Third-year Orange City University is on the PrepVolleyball watch list, followed by Lake Highland Prep, Lake Mary and Oviedo. …
Delray Beach American Heritage, which has won three state football titles since 2007, plays at Cocoa, which won three in a row (2008-10), at noon on Saturday in a game that will be televised live by ESPN. American Heritage, the reigning state champion in 3A, is ranked No. 1 in its class and Cocoa is No. 3 in 4A going into a game that figures to be played in scorching daytime heat if it escapes thunderstorms.