Knights, Finney Run Past Petersburg
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
Oct 28, 2013, 07:37
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
PETERSBURG—After a scoreless first quarter it looked like the Crimson Wave might hold up against the vaunted Thomas Dale running game.
Enter Eric Finney and the Knights’ tail back made sure the outcome was the one his team was looking for, a 47-12 final score. Finney ran the ball 14 times for the 9th ranked Thomas Dale Knights against Petersburg netting 217 yards and three touchdowns. His first touchdown, a 56-yard gallop through the Crimson Wave defense put the Knights up 7-0, a lead they would never relinquish despite yielding a touchdown to Petersburg on the following series.
“He’s a typical Thomas Dale tailback. The later in the game the better he gets,” Thomas Dale Coach Kevin Tucker said. “He (Finney) fits the mold of any of the Knights’ great running backs, like Ken Oxendine, Rudy Johnson, Henry Jefferson, Wade Henderson, and DJ Reid. He’s a special back and is right up there with the best of them. He’s a junior so I am glad I will have him back for next year.”
The win boosts the Knights to 6-2 on the season and the loss drops the Crimson Wave to 2-6.
After falling behind by seven, Khalid Morris found Lonzie Jones on a 9-yard drag route to the left side of the end zone. The two point conversion run failed and the Crimson Wave trailed the Knights 7-6. That would be all the closer Petersburg would get Friday night as Thomas Dale scored three more times in the quarter on 21-6 surge.
Thomas Dale got Justin Cooper going on their next series, capping off the attack with a 23-yard touchdown. Khaleigh’s kick was good again, and the Knights extended their lead to 14-6. Finney picked up his second score of the night on a 10-yard burst up the middle and the Thomas Dale looked to have the game in hand early with a 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter.
Petersburg put a little doubt to reports of their early demise, however; as Morris took the ensuing kick-off back 93 yards for a touchdown. Again the point after failed, but the Crimson wave had cut the lead to a manageable nine points.
Unfortunately for Petersburg, those 12 points would be the only ones Thomas Dale would yield on the first really cold night of football this season. In the closing minutes of the half, Luke found A.J. Holliday deep on a 30-yard fade pattern for a 27-12 lead, and he tacked on the extra point for a 28-12 halftime score.
“We knew Petersburg would put nine in the box and we told our backs and lineman if you can get us four yards, Eric (Finney) would do the rest. If we could get past the first level, they would only have a safety or linebacker to stop him. He’s a game changer,” Tuckers said.
The passing game continues to be a work in progress. Having lost their top three receivers to knee injuries this season, the Knights have had to cobble together a late season receiving corps. They have done so by calling on C.J. Reavis and Holliday. Luke connected with the two for 160 yards and Holliday’s touchdown.
“We have lost our top three receivers the past two weeks to torn ACLs. A lot of it (low pass completion percentage) is just getting the timing down with the new receivers. It’s only his second week with this group and it will keep getting better I think,” Tucker said.
Thomas Dale’s defense closed the door as they didn’t allow another scoring drive throughout the second half. In the meantime, Finney cranked out a 92-yard run for a touchdown on the Knight’s first offensive play of the second half making a statement that the Pride is Back for the Knights. Luke plunged in from one-yard out, and Jordon Rawls put the finishing touch on with a 20-yard burst.
David Breidenbach/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
The victory sets up what might be the biggest game of the year, as the Knights will host the undefeated and second ranked Dinwiddie Generals next Friday in Chester. The Generals have had no problems sweeping through any of their opponents to date this year, but the Thomas Dale running game may present them with the kind of test they need before heading into post season play. The Knights have only lost to top teams in the area, top ranked, L.C. Bird, and Varina which was ranked second in the Times-Dispatch poll at the time and are currently ranked seventh.
"We are thankful we didn’t have anyone injured tonight. We came out and did what we wanted on offense and and did what we wanted on defense. We need to work on special teams. We have to have all three phases going,” Tucker said.