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Placer product tremendous in gridiron return

Campus Canvass
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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When Kyle Thompson decided to go back to school, he decided to give football another try as well. “I just expected to go out and have some fun,” the Placer High graduate recalled. “I wasn’t sure I’d be able to play. I just wanted to go see what I could do, and it turned out I did pretty good.” “Pretty good” is an understatement. Having recently completed his freshman season at Yuba College in Marysville, Thompson was recently named to the All-Bay Valley Conference first team as a tight end. “He was clearly the best tight end in the league by far,” Yuba offensive coordinator Mick Pettengill said. “It wasn’t even close.” Pettengill calls Thompson, who recently turned 22, “a complete tight end – he’s a really good blocker and a threat to catch the ball.” “Back in spring practice, we knew he would be a large part of our offense,” Pettengill said. “One thing with him being older is that we knew he would be a smart football player. The way a season goes, you never know how things are going to go, but we did have a feeling that he was going to be a special player.” Thompson caught 10 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns for the 49ers (5-5). However, it was as a blocker that Thompson truly distinguished himself. Because Yuba was decimated by injuries, the 49ers’ coaching staff lined Thompson up in a variety of spots. Yet no matter where he was, he consistently paved the way for the 49ers’ rushing attack. “His blocking ability is outstanding,” Pettengill said. “Because of him we dominated on the ground – we wound up 18th in the state in rushing yards per game. Him being there opened up some holes for people.” Thompson thought he was done with school when he graduated from Placer in 2005. “I thought I could make some easy money in construction,” he said. “Then the construction business went into a decline, so I decided to come back to school and get an education.” Though Thompson has yet to choose a major, he’s leaning toward pursuing education as a career and becoming a football coach. If he goes that route, he already has some experience to put on his resumé – last season he was an assistant coach at Foresthill High. “You get to know the game a little better,” Thompson said of his time on the sideline. “You get to know the game a lot more – it’s a lot more of a mind game than I thought it was. “Coach (Jim) Herlehy knows the game so well. I was learning every day.” For now, however, Thompson has some playing left to do. “It was great to be back in pads,” Thompson said. “I missed it. When you think about how much you miss playing and then you get an opportunity to, it’s a second chance, kinda.” Ray Hacke can be reached at rayh@goldcountrymedia.com.