Thomas Dale Wins District Opener
By KEVIN HARRIS, Correspondent
Sep 24, 2012, 18:49
Thomas Dale senior D.J. Reid poses during the preseason. Reid accumulated a game-high 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns as Dale beat Petersburg 32-8 on Friday (file photo).
PETERSBURG – The Thomas Dale football team stepped onto the field Friday for a road game against Petersburg with a winless record and a point to prove.
By the time they stepped off, the Knights were vindicated and on a winning streak.
Paced by two touchdowns from senior D.J. Reid, the visitors claimed a 32-8 victory over the Crimson Wave in the district opener for both teams. In the process, Thomas Dale bounced back from consecutive losses to L.C. Bird and Varina.
The Knights’ game plan was clear from the beginning – give the ball to Reid and mix in an occasional play-action pass. The Crimson Wave was able to shut it down early, limiting Reid to five yards on his first six carries.
Then Reid broke off a 40-yard touchdown run that split the Crimson Wave defense wide open.
The score made it 8-0, extending a lead established by a second-quarter safety. The 6-2, 210-pound running back got the call again late in the second quarter, scoring from seven yards out. Reid’s effectiveness opened things up for fullback Justin Cooper.
The junior took advantage by breaking off a few big runs of his own, including a touchdown scamper from 15 yards out. In turn, the success of Thomas Dale’s ground attack opened up opportunities in the passing game.
Quarterback A.J. Holiday threw for 145 yards and a touchdown.
Petersburg finally got on the scoreboard in the dying moments of the fourth quarter when quarterback Levy Jones completed a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Crimson Wave converted a two-point conversion to provide the final margin.
After an unsuccessful onside kick, the Knights took a knee and ran out the clock.
Despite several penalties and a few miscues, the Thomas Dale defense held firm and slowed down the Petersburg offense. Thomas Dale coach Kevin Tucker was pleased with the way his defense bounced back after giving up 37 points to Varina last week.
“We really got on our defense last week for a lot of standing around and watching,” Tucker said. “We went back to the basics and told the guys to get down to the fundamentals, read the reads and play some Thomas Dale football.”
Tucker said Reid’s high profile – he’s been tabbed by many as one of the top rushers in the Central Region and is currently courting offers from Virginia Tech and South Florida, among others – has drawn considerable attention from opposing defenses.
Friday was no different, but the tailback still managed to pick up 133 yards in addition to his two touchdowns.
Thomas Dale (1-2) will look to garner its second road win on the trot on Friday against Matoaca. Petersburg (1-3) will look to bounce back at Colonial Heights on the same day.