ORLANDO, Fla. -- When Booker T. Washington took a 21-7 lead in the third quarter on Saturday night against Bolles, linebacker Matthew Thomas knew it was no time to ease up.
That's because last year Booker T. held a 25-12 lead in the fourth quarter against Bolles and ended up losing the game 33-25.
Thomas wasn't going to let Bolles have that type of comeback again and Booker T. close the game out by winning 35-7. Thomas finished the game with nine tackles and 0.5 sack.
"This state championship means a lot because last year we were in the same situation," Thomas said. "We were in a good position to win and we ended up giving the game away. We learned from that and this year we focused more and played harder for 48 minutes. You can't give your opponent any breathing room once you get them where you want and that is what we did."
Thomas finished the season with 79 tackles and 10.5 sacks even though he missed a handful of games.
Now that his season is finished, Thomas will turn his focus to recruiting and setting up his official visits. Thomas still has all of his official visits to take and he would like to take them to Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, USC, and Florida at this point.
"I am approaching it with an open mind because I haven't taken any visits yet, so I am excited to see how that goes," Thomas said. "I think once I take all my visits, I will have a good idea on where I want to go. Those visits are going to be important."
Thomas says he doesn't plan to take an official visit to Miami because he is familiar with the school and he can visit the campus at any time.
"I don't think I am going to take a official visit to Miami," Thomas said. "I can get there whenever I want and I know all about them. If I ever need to go down to Miami I can always drive there because it is right down the street."
Miami assistants Micheal Barrow and Paul Williams were in attendance to watch Thomas and Booker T. win the state championship on Saturday night. When Barrow acknowledged Thomas as he walked off the field following the game, Thomas smiled and flashed the 'U' with his hands.
"It means a lot to see them here," Thomas said. "It means they like me more than a football player. They like me as an individual as well and they support me to accomplish the goals I have. I have a great relationship with coach Barrow. He has a good relationship with my mom and I talk to him once a week and we have a good connection."
Thomas followed a few of Miami's games this season and he came away impressed by the way the young team progressed during the season.
"I feel like they had a great season," Thomas said. "They played a lot of young guys and I have seen that. I feel like I would definitely have a chance to play early there."
Thomas shared what the UM coaches are telling him about any potential sanctions that Miami may be under.
"They just tell me that they are trying to get right for the future and that is why they have taken two bowl bans," Thomas said. "They are not worried about now because they know the future looks pretty good."