Dale Offense Shutout by Dinwiddie
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Nov 5, 2013, 11:17
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
As high school football season draws to a close and teams need to make a push for the playoffs, the Thomas Dale Knights (6-3) faced a difficult matchup on Friday night getting shut down 21-0 by the Dinwiddie Generals (9-0) who remain undefeated on the season.
Thomas Dale head coach Kevin Tucker cited wet conditions and offensive stumbles as a primary factor in the team's loss.
"We've got a little bit more to do, and offensively I feel like we left a lot on the field tonight with missed blocks and missed assignments. And with the wet ball, we weren't throwing the ball very well. That definitely hurt us. We've been throwing the ball pretty well the last three weeks, and tonight...Trevor [Luke] just couldn't get a grip on it...We had guys wide open too. It was tough," Tucker said after the game.
Luke completed 7 of 12 passes for 68 yards, throwing one interception on the evening.
The Knights only created a total 151 offensive yards in the game, compared to Dinwiddie's 373 yards.
Not even Thomas Dale's monster running back Eric Finney could produce much, 52 yards on 16 carries. Finney had barreled his way to 16 touchdowns in eight games prior to Friday night.
Dinwiddie blasted down the field with a rush-heavy offense, stacking up 286 rushing yards, of which Sadarius Williams individually racked up 181 yards and a touchdown off of 25 carries.
It doesn't help that Thomas Dale is piling up an injury-filled roster, losing fullback Keith Anderson to a separated shoulder during Friday's game, on an offensive drive directly following a huge goal line defensive rejection in the third quarter.
"We fumbled the first snap on the first down after we got it, and then you know, we lose [Anderson], and we can't run the isos and powers that we want...We're low on personnel. We're banged up right now, a couple torn ACLs. We got some guys playing different positions for us, ...and we got another one banged up tonight. So we got to get healthy quick, get ready for Matoaca and get ready for a playoff run," Tucker said.
With one game left, Thomas Dale's next matchup against Matoaca is critical towards determining their spot in the playoffs.
"If we win [next week], we're probably going to be a 5 or a 6 seed. If we lose, it'll be close. We'll be fighting for an 8 seed. We've got to go out there and win," Tucker said.
Thomas Dale's three losses this season were all to teams who are ranked in the top 20 football teams in Virginia: L.C. Bird (4), Varina (10) and Dinwiddie (18), a sign that their strength of schedule will have a beneficial impact on their overall division ranking.
Despite the disappointment always created by a loss, Tucker was optimistic about the performance, especially emphasizing the fact that they held the explosive Generals to 21 points.
Prior to Friday night's game, Dinwiddie hadn't scored less than 43 points in a game this season, and Thomas Dale kept them to less than half of that.
Tucker said that Friday's game was a strong reminder of the necessity to tap into the playoff mentality, and that although the Knights made some young mistakes on Friday including the inability to accurately read an offensive or defensive line, these are correctible mistakes.
"I'm not worried about that. The young guys that are able to play are getting better. They saw tonight what happened. We're going to show them in film tomorrow what they did mistake wise, and get them right," Tucker said.
Thomas Dale will head to Matoaca on Friday and Dinwiddie will face Meadowbrook at home.