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Football: Family rivalry for Thomas

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Nov. 30, 2013

Sean Thomas

Sean Thomas

According to his UL Monroe bio, Jyruss Edwards has more siblings than can be counted on two hands.

Or three.

Eleven brothers and seven sisters, you do the math.

Tonight, however, it’s just one cousin with whom the ULM senior running back must be concerned.

He’s UL junior starting safety Sean Thomas, who hopes to get in at least one lick on Edwards as family members – some wearing split T-shirts to reflect split loyalties – gather at Cajun Field for the annual meeting between the two Sun Belt Conference in-state rivals.

Jyruss’ father Alex and Thomas’ father Quintin are brothers.

“I’m gonna bring it. I’m gonna bring it,” Thomas said. “I’ve got to let him know. Even though he’s ‘big cousin,’ I’ve still got to let him know.”

Two seasons ago, Thomas didn’t. He was a true freshman then, playing as a reserve in the secondary and mostly on special teams for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“I never got him,” Thomas said.

Jyruss Edwards had a huge game for the Warhawks that night, producing 102 all-purpose yards and scoring a career-high four touchdowns – three running, one catching a Kolton Browning pass.

Though the two never made in-game contact, Jyruss – from White Castle High, near Baton Rouge – wound send Sean messages via ULM teammates.

“He’d let them know where I’m at,” said Thomas, a product of St. Augustine High in New Orleans. “(They’d say), ‘You’re Jyruss’ cousin.’ ”

The greetings might even have come with some extra oomph.

But Thomas laughed last, as UL rallied for 11 points down with just more than two minutes left to win 36-35.

Last year, in a 40-24 UL win at ULM, a season-ending knee injury sidelined Edwards, so Thomas never even got a chance to take him down.

He has, however, taken advantage of offseason opportunities for a friendly shot or two.

“We don’t talk about it much – because I have a 2-0 jump on him,” said Thomas, whose now 8-2 Cajuns went 9-4 and won back-to-back New Orleans Bowls the last two years.

But, he laughingly added, “I get to go back for the family gatherings and show him my rings and all the good stuff.”

The two actually could have been teammates, as Thomas received attention from ULM.

His cousin was to have hosted him on a recruiting trip, but Thomas visited UL instead and ultimately signed with the same program for which his father played.

Now, the cousins are on opposite sides.

This year Thomas is tied for third among UL tackling leaders with 49 total stops, Edwards is ULM’s top rusher with 445 yards and two TDs and Edwards – according to Thomas – is really hoping to build some bragging rights of his own.

“After the last two games,” Thomas said, “I (saw) him – and all he could do was put his head down and (say), like, ‘Dang, I’m gonna getcha.’ ”