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Monarchs Spoil Knights' Senior Night
By KEVIN HARRIS, Correspondent
Oct 30, 2012, 10:48

CHESTER — In high school football, Senior Night is a time for reminiscing. It’s a time for a player to look back on his high school career and celebrate his achievements.

Much to the Thomas Dale football players’ misfortune, their commemorative moment fell on the same day that they took on Meadowbrook, the top-seeded team in the Central District.

The Monarchs emerged victorious from a hard-fought game on Ed Karpus Field in Chester, securing their sixth consecutive win by a score of 33-19.

Meadowbrook running back Brandon McShine opened the scoring by running in from 56 yards out just 1:23 into the game. That play would prove to be one of the few offensive highlights of the opening frame.

The rest of the quarter saw a defensive battle that at one point produced five straight three and outs. Midway through the second quarter, Meadowbrook strung together a drive that included passes of 32 and 21 yards.

The visitors were able to cap the voyage off on a five-yard scoring scamper from McShine. The extra point was wide right and Meadowbrook led 13-0 with 4:11 left in the half.

The Meadowbrook defense held on the ensuing possession, leaving the Monarchs’ offensive unit with a little over two minutes remaining.

That proved to be more than enough.

Quarterback Gerard Johnson, bound for Old Dominion University next year, ran in from 19 yards out with 1:19 to spare. Running back Earl Hughes hauled in a two-point conversion pass to give the Monarchs a 21-0 lead at the break.

Thomas Dale quickly jumped on the board in the second half when Quarterback A.J. Holliday scampered in from 42 yards just 24 seconds into the third quarter.

Johnson managed to match Holliday’s effort moments later, negating the score with a 45-yard quarterback keeper of his own. The explosive pace of the third quarter persisted.

Just under three minutes later, Thomas Dale once again found paydirt. This time it was a one-yard plunge from running back D.J. Reid. After an exciting 4:41 to start the half, the final 7:19 passed relatively quietly.

But the Knights resumed their rally in the fourth quarter.

After receiving the ball via a punt to start the quarter, the home team took just 1:33 to score. Senior John Ford ran in from one yard out, making the game a one-possession affair with 10:27 remaining.

Meadowbrook, however, preserved its spot atop the district standings with a finishing kick that featured a 10-yard touchdown run from Johnson and a defensive stand that turned Thomas Dale over on downs. The Monarchs gained possession with 1:43 left and were able to run out the clock.

Johnson finished with 145 yards rushing and three touchdowns while McShine added another 171 yards and two scores of his own.

Reid paced the Thomas Dale offense by amassing 133 yards and one touchdown.

Meadowbrook will return home next week to play host to winless Colonial Heights. Thomas Dale will be looking to exact a measure of revenge for an early-season loss to L.C. Bird on the same day.

That rivalry — dubbed the “Battle of Chester” — culminated in a 14-7 victory for the Skyhawks in Week 1.

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