MIAMI — It's less than a month before the early signing period and Cardinal Gibbons edge rusher R. Mason Thomas says he's "just open."
Thomas was outstanding as Gibbons rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit to beat top-seeded Gulliver Prep 36-33 in the Region 4-4A final on Friday at Tropical Park Stadium.
Gibbons quarterback Dylan Rizk scored three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, and also threw a touchdown.
Gulliver Prep quarterback Carson Haggard threw four touchdown passes in the first half, including three to fellow Tulane commit De'Carlo Donaldson.
Thomas, a senior who recently decommitted from Iowa State, had at least one sack, knocked down two passes at the line of scrimmage and had several quarterback hurries in the win.
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"It was hard to pick your head up knowing you're down 20 points," Thomas said, "I think our team did great. All we needed that little thing, how coach was saying. That little juice, that little play to bring us together. That shouldn’t have happened like that, that first half. We don’t want to keep our composure. After we kept scoring, we just kept pushing."
Thomas was a constant presence in the Raiders' backfield, especially in the second half. He recorded a big third-down sack in the third quarter to force a punt and held Gibbons start to get momentum in the second half.
"He’s a good quarterback," Thomas said of Haggard. "He rolls out. I just didn’t want him to get outside of me. I was like, 'Man, if we’re going to make some plays I've got to take some risks.'"
As for recruiting, Thomas said he's considering several schools. Kentucky and Indiana are in the mix and Iowa State also remains in contention.
Thomas said Kentucky's coaching staff has been making a strong push down the stretch.
"I like where they want me at," he said. "They like me all over the place — linebacker, edge rusher. Good program, SEC, one of the toughest (conferences) in college football."
Ahmad Moten plans February signing
Cardinal Gibbons senior defensive lineman Ahmad Moten, whose recruiting has taken off during the past two months, said he plans to wait until February before signing.
"I want to take all of my official (visits)," Moten said. "Nobody is leading the pack, but people are definitely recruiting me the most."
Without hesitation, Moten said Oregon has been the school making the biggest push. West Virginia, Iowa State, Tennessee, Florida and others also are heavily recruiting the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder.
Gulliver Prep junior running back Sedrick Irvin Jr. (Notre Dame commit) scored a rushing touchdown in the third quarter to give the Raiders a 33-14 lead. It was the final score of the game for Gulliver Prep.
Rizk made a big impact with his legs, including a critical 73-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half. After Gulliver Prep took a 27-7 lead into the half, Rizk's long score gave Gibbons a much-needed spark. Rizk's offers include Indiana, Kentucky and UCF.
Donaldson capped off an outstanding senior year with three more receiving scores. He topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark and finished the year with 12 receiving touchdowns. Donaldson committed to Tulane in the spring, but added offers from Florida and West Virginia in late October.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Cardinal Gibbons DE Thomas 'just open' weeks before early signing period