Thomas Dale Too Much For Royals
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 7, 2013, 08:16
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
CHESTER — What began as a bipartisan display of offensive retaliation turned into an aggressive, defensive clash during Thomas Dale’s 18-13 victory over Prince George on Friday night.
The Prince George Royals (3-2), on the heels of two consecutive losses within a one possession point margin, have not defeated the Thomas Dale Knights (3-2) since 2000 where they beat them at home.
Despite this more than decade old victory drought, Royals head coach Bruce Carroll praised the team’s competitive struggle down to the last second of the game on Friday, one final play for the win made possible from a first down run by quarterback BJ Knight out of bounds to stop the clock.
“Obviously, we came up short, but...I told them after the game ‘we’ve got nothing to hang our heads about, we’ll come back and fix that on Monday.’ The fact that they’re willing to stand there and go toe to toe with somebody physical in a football game for four quarters, I’m proud of them for that,” Carroll said after the game.
Thomas Dale head coach Kevin Tucker was not as congratulatory of his team’s win, in which they had three fumbles and one interception, a game he considered a little too close for comfort.
“When we’re turning the ball over, we’re killing ourselves, and we’re putting our defense in a bad situation...That’s inexcusable, and that’s not Thomas Dale football at all. We’re not going to accept it and we’re not going to tolerate it,” Tucker said.
The majority of the game’s points were scored in the first half, only one touchdown was scored by the Knights in the second half, who held the Royals scoreless in the last 29 minutes of game play.
Thomas Dale finished the night with 37 tackles, an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Prince George put their presence on the scoreboard in the first minute of the game, where BJ Knight launched a wide right pass to Kameron Smith who made a running 15 yard catch in the corner of the end zone.
Royals running back Devante Fuller rushed it in for a touchdown in the second quarter, gaining a one point lead going into halftime (13-12).
But due to the rushing intensity of Thomas Dale running back Eric Finney, who ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns, and the Knights’ score defying defense, the Royals were not able to pull off the win.
Tucker commended his defense, but was disappointed that the offense didn’t turn around and score more points.
“The defense never gave up, they never quit. We were putting some pressure out there against a good football team and we finally started getting them to make some mistakes, and that’s what our defense is built upon is making the other team make some mistakes, and hoping our offense capitalizes and tonight the offense just didn’t do that,” Tucker said.
After the game, Tucker said the team’s offensive woes will be emphasized during upcoming Knights’ practices.
“We emphasize that all week long: No turnovers, no personal fouls. And we had four turnovers tonight and four personal fouls...Our kids are going to run again this week. Last week we ran them, so this week they’re going to run even more until they stop being idiots. And that’s point blank. That’s what we got to do,” he said.
On paper, Prince George had a more impressive defensive stat line, with 59 tackles, three fumble recoveries and an interception, yet it wasn’t enough to keep points off the scoreboard. Cornerback Emmanuel Lee led the Royals with eight tackles.
The Royals return home to face Dinwiddie on Friday, and Carroll is ready to brush off the loss and get back to practice.
“The highs you can never let be too high and the lows you can never let be too low. When you come out and you battle like this, and our kids fight like this, they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. We just come back to work. We’re ok,” Carroll said. “We’re just going to get better on Monday. [Dinwiddie’s] a great football team. Obviously well coached, great program, all that. So it’d be just a pleasure to get back on the field next week and keep playing.”
Thomas Dale will stay at home and play Meadowbrook this Friday.