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Thomas’ Play Is Highlight of California’s 10-5 Victory

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After a misunderstanding with Coach Ed Burke earlier this week, it appeared Jason Thomas would not have an impact in Saturday’s 47th Annual Shrine All-Star Football Classic.

Burke said he believed Thomas, a Parade All-American quarterback from Compton Dominguez High, had left training camp after curfew, and he demoted him behind starter Carson Palmer of Santa Margarita.

However, once the game began, Thomas not only took nearly half the snaps against a Texas all-star team, he was the most exciting player on the field as California went to 4-0 in the series with a 10-5 victory at Cerritos College in front of 7,500.

Thomas did his best Deion Sanders impression, playing much of the game at safety, as well.

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“When camp began, I started out at free safety,” Thomas said. “But I needed to get more reps at quarterback.

“But I wanted to play defense. This is the all-stars, and you do whatever it takes to win.”

Thomas, who, like Palmer will be attending USC this fall, spent much of the time scrambling and improvising with no one to throw to in what turned out to be a defensive battle.

“Some plays were designed runs, but some, like the first run [a 15-yard gain], were me just being an athlete,” he said.

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California took the lead in the third quarter, when UCLA-bound DeShaun Foster of Tustin scored on fourth-and-two from the 10, breaking one tackle and carrying another defender into the end zone.


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