Sacramento’s Shaq Thompson Headed to Super Bowl 50 with Carolina Panthers

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SACRAMENTO --

Sacramento's very own Shaq Thompson is heading to Super Bowl 50 with the Carolina Panthers.
Many who know the football player congratulated him on his accomplishments.

Chris Shepard said he has been following Thomspon's football career for nearly a decade. He's more than a fan. He's like family.

"He calls my Uncle Shep. And it's great to be just a part of it," Shepard said.

Shepard is an American government teacher at Grant Union High School -- Thompson's alma mater.

"I taught all the Thompson brothers -- Him, Sid, Lee Arthur, Ricky," Shepard said.

Head football coach Mike Alberghini remembered Thompson being a force both on and off the field.

"He's a classy young man. He's a guy that has been successful. We felt he would be successful. And he went on and proved everybody right," Coach Al said.

He recalled the time the caring young man helped a fan who was having an emergency in the stands.

"He was having heart problems. They went and visited him in the hospital. He comes and sees him when he comes back. He's just that kind of a giving person," Coach Al said.

After graduation, Thompson went on to play for the University of Washington, and then to the pros.
Grant senior, Vikatoria Iulio read Thompson's junior yearbook post.

"'My favorite thing about football is just going out there and playing with my family and having fun. The things that inspire me are to make it to the NFL and my bro Sid,'" Iulio said. "He's living his dream."

The dream continues. The Panthers will be playing the Denver Broncos at this year's Super Bowl.

"It's just rewarding to see good people have success, and he is truly a good person," Coach Al said.

Thompson going to the Super Bowl came at a time when Grant Union High school so desperately needed to hear some good news.

The high school is still mourning the death of football player JJ Clavo, who was killed on Nov. 13.
His killer is still on the run.

Coach Alberghini hopes Thompson's success will uplift the Pacer spirit.

"Resilient kids go here, and to have someone like Shaq be part of such a successful thing, renews your faith in everything," Coach Al said.

"If we actually put our mind and set our goals for it, we can actually make it far," Iulio said.

Super Bowl 50 will be at Levi's Stadium on Feb. 7.

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