shaq thompson
Former Grant Union High School football and baseball star Shaq Thompson told the media from Sacramento that his Carolina Panthers will get back on track after the team lost 24-10 to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.Thompson started the game as a linebacker on defense for the Panthers. (OBSERVER photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

SANTA CLARA — More than 71,000 spectators, with beautiful weather to basked in, witnessed the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

This particular Super Bowl played out and into the hands of the defenses while both quarterbacks were basically non factors, despite the Denver Broncos clearly winning the contest 24-10.

Denver’s strong side linebacker Von Miller, the game’s MVP, said before the game that Panthers’ Cam Newton was his “favorite” quarterback. Miller and Von were the first two picks in the 2011 draft.

“I owe this to every guy in that locker room,” Miller said following the game of his Bronco teammates. “

After the game, Newton may have to claim Miller as his defensive idol.

Von got his hands on Newton a couple times and striped the ball away on both occasions. One was recovered and turned into a score in the first half.

The second disturbance by Miller set up a 2-yard run by C.J. Anderson late in the fourth to seal the victory. Anderson ran 23 times for 90 yards and 1 TD for the Broncos.

Peyton Manning didn’t have to do much for this Broncos. The victory did give him two Super Bowl wins, one with the Indianapolis Colts and the other for Denver. It would be a fitting way for Manning, who completed 13 of 23 passes for 141 yards and one inteception, to ride off into the sunset.

Grant Union High School’s Shaq Thompson made his presence felt when he stop Ronnie Hillman for a 3-yard loss on the Denver Broncos’ first possession, which ended in a 34-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to open up scoring 3-0. Thompson started at strongside linebacker.

Broncos’ Miller was the player that got the party started when he hit Newton at Carolina’s 4-yard line and knocked the football loose to allow Denver to get a recovery and 1-yard touchdown by teammate Malik Jackson.

Newton got the ball rolling early in the second quarter with a couple of runs. He also hit tight end Greg Olsen for a 19-yard catch followed by a 13-yard pass to Corey Brown to set a one-yard TD run by Stewart to make the score 10-7.

The Panthers’ defense also helped make their first score effective by stopping Denver and Manning on their last two possessions. Denver’s defense has some inspiring plays as well. The Panthers came into the game with the League’s 6th best defense. The Broncos had the No. 1 defense.

The Broncos went up 13-7 after McManus kicked his second field, a 33-yard boot at the 7:01 mark of the second quarter. The scored remained that way at the half. Manning completed 9 of 16 passes for 76 yards and one interception while Newton cleared 8 of 19 passes for 95 yards.

The Panthers had 17 tackles in the first half, including Thompson’s four tackles. The Broncos had a total of 16 tackles for in the first half and also managed a score by defensive end Jackson.

After a colorful halftime, energized by Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce, Graham Gano missed a 44-yard field goal early in the third quarter that would’ve put the Panthers within three points.

McManus went ahead to kick his third field, for 30 yards, to extend the Broncos’ lead to a nine-point margin. During Carolina’s next possession, Bronco’s T.J. Ward intercepted a Newton’s pass, intended for Ted Ginn Jr.

As the game wore on, the Broncos’ defense stepped up its attack on Newton when Miller and Derek Wolf teamed up to sack him at the Carolina’s 22-yard line with 1:03 left in the third. Newton did manage a 45-yard strike to Ginn on their first crack on offense, which resulted in Gano’s misfire.

Newton completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards and one interception for Carolina. He also ran for 45 yards, 40 yards in the first half. Corey Brown had four receptions for 80 yards.

Thompson, from the neighborhood of Del Paso Heights was in a position to get a Super Bowl ring in his first year in the NFL let alone his first with the Panthers. He finished the game with four tackles and one assist.

“It sucks. But it was a good game and we got to bounce back,” Thompson told the local media from Sacramento following the game. “I’ll still go to battle with this team everyday against anybody.”

Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, did play in the Super Bowl despite breaking his arm during his team’s NFC Championship victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Davis, 32, broke his arm in a collision with Cardinals tight end Darren Fells in the the second quarter. Fells is the brother of Daniel Fell, who played the UC Davis Aggies and has played for several NFL teams.

Thompson thought Davis’ bravery was solid.

“He played great,” Thompson said. “I don’t know anyone else would’ve been playing like that.”
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer