Justice Thompson, Class of 2021, Ballard High School

The New York Yankees had a catcher/manager once named Yogi Berra. Berra used to say the damnedest things like…when you come to a fork in the road, take it and [y]ou should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours. Another saying which we believe is attributable to Yogi is the team which scores the most usually wins. Perhaps this is sage advice for Coach Adrian Morton‘s Ballard Bruins.

I really don’t know how the sledding could be any tougher than the teams littering the Ballard Bruins‘ schedule. I suppose they could find some NFC, AFC, or SEC teams to play, but without doing that, having to play the likes of DeSales, Male, Collins, Trinity, and Simon Kenton is tough. Take into consideration DuPont Manual has been stockpiling 2021 and 2022 talent and the road only figures to get tougher. For Coach Morton‘s charges to take the next step, either figuratively or literally, the Bruins need to find some offense and perhaps an offensive star to go along with it’s defensive super-star, Linebacker Justice Thompson.

Last year, the Bruins only rushed for 916 yards on the season while surrendering 1,234 and scored 264 points while surrendering 288. Neither of the surrendering numbers reflect too poorly on Coach Farmer‘s defense as what do you expect when you’re are playing the Louisville Trinity types? That aside, football teams which want to avoid finishing .500 (6-6), have got to run the football more effectively than the Bruins did a year ago. You can’t throw it for over 2,300 yards and run it for under a thousand in 6A football. Your leading rusher on the year can’t gain only 284 yards (Jerald Smith).

Terrence May, No. 3, was referenced in some Ballard online literature during last season as the team’s heartbeat. That bore out as being a little too accurate for a team which struggled in both points and offensive production. Notwithstanding the offense’s shortcomings, May was able to have a very good year at QB. That’s not going to mean much in 2018 as May has graduated; however, in 2017, May competed 149 of his 281 passing attempts for 2,329 yards and 25 TDs. May‘s top target in the passing game, Elijah Downing (40 receptions, 826 yards, 10 TDs) is returning to provide, along with Class of 2020’s Josh Minkins (18 receptions, 280 yards, 1 TD), reliable down-field targets to pick up the slack from losing, to graduation, Marshon Ford and Christian Horton.

Who is going to get the call at QB? We believe, at KPGFootball, the time is now for rising sophomore QB, Larry Cummings Jr., to get the nod. Cummings is the son of a coach, a former Team Kentucky quarterback who led Kentucky to victory against the Tennessee Future Stars in 2017, and someone we expect to be a star on the high school level. Stars in high school most often enter varsity lineups at the beginning of the sophomore year.

Ballard has a bone fide star at linebacker and he didn’t wait until becoming a sophomore to enter the lineup. Class of 2021’s Justice Thompson is the premier linebacker in Louisville and easily a top-two linebacker in his class anywhere in Kentucky. Thompson is 6-1 and weighs 235 pounds. Last year, he tallied 120 tackles, though a freshman, with 69 of those tackles being unassisted. For his efforts, Thompson was named a KPGFootball, freshman All-State linebacker and was selected by MaxPreps a first team, Freshman All-American. Now, Thompson entered Ballard with an offensive position as he played running back in middle school and got carries playing on Team Kentucky FBU. You know Coach Morton, there really isn’t a rule against letting 235 pound grown men run the football in high school. Many of the traits which make him an All-American at linebacker will served him well attacking defenses between the tackles while carrying the football. You might think about it.

In any event, there certainly isn’t anything easy about playing 6A high school football, and when you are in the 502, particularly in Louisville, Kentucky, it is even tougher. Justice Thompson made it look pretty easy during his stellar, freshman campaign and we believe, should similar progression occur during his sophomore season, it may make him, defensively, either frightening or, perhaps, frighteningly terrific. Ballard has a new heartbeat and it’s now on defense, where it will likely remain for the next several seasons. The Bruins might consider giving the heartbeat a look on offense too. After all, the team which scores the most usually wins, right Yogi?

This is Fletcher Long, reporting for KPGFootball reminding you to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE!

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Justice Thompson Freshman Highlights




About Fletcher Long 1536 Articles
Two-time winner of Kentucky Press Association awards for excellence in writing and reporting news stories while Managing Editor of the Jackson (KY) Times-Voice

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