Billed as the best receiver at San Pasqual High since Anthony Moss was racing through defenses in the 1990s, JaJuan Thomas lived up to the hype Friday as the Eagles opened the season with a 19-14 win at Torrey Pines in the Under Armour Brothers in Arms San Diego Classic.
Thomas, a senior, returned a punt 56 yards in the first quarter to open the scoring, eluding two tackles at the point of the catch, then outracing the defense.
In the second quarter, Thomas wrestled a dart of a pass from quarterback Sebastian Tengan away from a Torrey Pines defender, falling into the end zone for a 19-yard score.
“That punt return was pretty special,” said Torrey Pines coach Scott Ashby. “That changed the game. Those six points were the difference in the game.”
Thomas finished with five catches for 36 yards.
“We’re throwing more this season, and I like it,” Thomas said. “My name started getting out there last season. Now I’m just trying to do well and hope people remember.”
San Pasqual’s players seemed to forget they were playing a good Torrey Pines team. Leading 12-0 at halftime, the No. 9-ranked Eagles gave up a touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter when Dwayne Hines ran around left end to score from 6 yards out.
San Pasqual countered with a 12-play drive, with Tengan scoring on a 6-yard run to make it 19-7 late in the third quarter.
Torrey Pines — which was playing without multi-talented Jack Bailey, who was injured in practice — wasn’t finished. The Falcons came back with 15-play, 94-yard drive, with Christian Gange scoring on a 2-yard run with 5:01 to play.
San Pasqual then went three-and-out to give Torrey Pines a chance. But a Bryce Willette interception appeared to end the game.
Torrey Pines’ Peter Hollen picked off a San Pasqual pass to give the Falcons one last chance with 2:11 to go.
The Falcons went from the San Pasqual 45-yard line to the 37 before linebacker Kyle Hendrickson ended it with an interception.