Knights beat Blue Devils
By DANIEL PARKER
Oct 25, 2017, 09:41
Blue Devils Quarterback Gregory Cuffey throws a pass.
Three minutes were left on the clock in the final quarter; the Thomas Dale Knights had their mark on the Hopewell Blue Devils the entire game limiting them down to only 15 yards rushing at the end of the first half.
Hopewell’s offense had been explosive following their first defeat at the hands of Norcom High School with large leads and a defensive shutdown to their opponents. But against the Thomas Dale Knights’ dark zone defense, they were shut down.
Pressure Blue Devils Quarterback Gregory Cuffey. Close in on Blue Devils Ronnie Walker. Swarm the Blue Devils receiving end to combat weapons like Sean Allen. The Blue Devils were hog-tied falling to Thomas Dale 41 to 6, last Friday at 7 p.m. at Thomas Dale High School.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my defensive coordinator Dennis Jones,” said Thomas Dale Football Coach Kevin Tucker. “He had a great game plan and our kids executed it.”
Until those final three minutes, Hopewell’s offensive engine had been shut-out as the Thomas Dale offense burned their way down field with a strong running game. At the 35 yard line, Hopewell Quarterback Gregory Cuffey passed to Ka’Darius Singleton, who broke through to the 15-yard line. After being shut down all game by the Knights, Ronnie Walker busted through to the two-yard line and that was followed up by Robert Briggs, who broke out on the right side of the box and scored Hopewell’s single touchdown. As for beating the Hopewell Blue Devils, it felt great for Coach Kevin Tucker, but it wasn’t the shut-out he wanted.
“It feels great I want to give our defense credit, we wanted a shut-out,” said Coach Kevin Tucker. “We didn’t get it that’s alright, like I said at the end there we had some backups in, those guys have to go to learn to play in high pressure situations too.”
As for the Thomas Dale offense, Kevin Tucker described it as a four cloud pile of dust for his opponents. They relied on a tough running game and slugged their way down field in small increments breaking through the Blue Devils defense.
“Four yards in a pile of dust it’s old school football,” said Kevin Tucker “It keeps our defense fresh but it allows for us to do some things like spread the ball out, we want to just keep getting better each week.”
Their first touchdown came in the first quarter; Knights William Harbert broke through into the end zone. Followed up by Thomas Dale Knight’s Cameron Womble, who in the second quarter, bounced the Knights up over the Blue Devils 14 to 0. Hopewell was pinned to 15 rushing yards in the first half, while the Thomas Dale offense had 148 yards rushing and 27 yards passing.
At the end of half the Thomas Dale Knights had possession at the 40 yard line and were steadily churning yards with their wing the offensive spread. Knights Collin Holmes busted through the box getting stopped at the 20 yard line, before being hit by Blue Devils defender Deandre Thomas, the ball was fumbled but the Knights recovered the ball continuing their march down Blue Devils territory. A pass from Knights Quarterback John Pierce to receiver Chike Diggs strengthened their lead over the Blue Devils 21 to 0.
Hopewell, hungry to bust in on the board after being halted by Thomas Dale, was broken down again by the Knights’ defense. Thomas Dale Knights Zack Jones broke through the line and sent Quarterback Gregory Cuffey to the ground with a sack for a loss of yards for the Blue Devils.
The Knights were living up to their reputation for having a strong defense. Knights Freshman Zach Jones had four tackles and sacked Cuffey in the back one time. It was the third down, when Gregory Cuffey rushed for the first down to save the Blue Devils, but was stopped six yards shy of keeping the ball in the hands of Hopewell.
A kick return busted Knights Collin Holmes up field to the end zone from the 37 yard line, 27 to 0. And the Thomas Dale machinery and defense continued to click for the rest of the course of the game until Hopewell swung back for one final drive. Thomas Dale Knight’s Jamarkus Wilson had five tackles and one forced fumble against the Blue Devils offense.
From here on out it’s about continuing to build the momentum of the Thomas Dale defense as they enter the final stretch of the regular season and head into the playoffs, said Coach Tucker.
“Defense wins championships, you have to play good defense once it gets down to the wire in late October and early November,” said Coach Tucker “You want your defense playing like they’re doing right now,”
The Hopewell Blue Devils will have their next game on November 3 against the Dinwiddie Generals at 7 p.m. at Merner Field in Hopewell.
Ronnie Walker had 10 carries for 10 yards rushing.
Gregory Cuffey had 10 carries for 8 yards gained.
Robert Briggs had 4 carries for 3 yards lost.
Gregory Cuffey completed 7 passes out of 14 for a total of 67 yards gained.
Sean Allen had 2 receptions for 7 yards gained
Ka’Darious Singleton had 2 receptions for 48 yards gained.
Thomas Dale Rushing
Elijah Burns had 10 carries for 122 yards rushing.
Collin Holmes had 14 carries for 140 yards rushing.
Thomas Dale Passing
John Pierce completed 4 out of 6 passes for 53 yards gained.
Thomas Dale Receiving
AJ Chavis had 1 reception for 26 yards gained.