Thomas Dale Pounds LC Bird 36-6


Tonight I witnessed my first Battle of Chester and it was a memorable one for a variety of reasons...

First there is the weather... I always seem to recall games where the weather is bad. Games such as a playoff game between Varina and Bird one year where it was raining so hard at Bird I actually had a waterfall off the brim of my hat. Or that miserable day in Centreville when Varina lost in the state semifinals in 2000.

So there was the weather. There was also low turnout... Knights fans showed up although there were plenty of seats still available in the stands. What I was most taken back by was the lack of support on the Bird side.

I believe the weather, coupled with Labor Day weekend and the game starting at 6 as opposed to 7 kept many away on this night.

You must forgive me for on this night out in the rain it was hard to take notes with my pad and equally as hard to keep notes on my phone with my screen acting up because of the rain on the screen. So this game recap is more based on my memory.

My take on Thomas Dale is that this team is for real. Here I am coming into the season high on teams like Hermitage and Manchester yet Thomas Dale is playing the best football of anyone in the area. Consider the fact that they shutout Cosby while laying 45-0 on them.

For three quarters the Knights shutout LC Bird! That does not happen often... They kept Bird to one score, that does not happen often.

From the start of the game the Knights just looked like a hungrier team... They played with more swagger and I did not get that same feeling early on with Bird.

Thomas Dale had excellent field position throughout the first quarter. They never started a possession within their own territory. Bird on the other hand could not get the ball past their own 40 in the first quarter.

Penalties hurt Bird but penalties and Bird go hand and hand. The biggest hindrance to Bird on this night was the Thomas Dale defense.

Players such as Dusan Stjepanovic and Adam Hall had huge games on defense. Dusan we expect as much, Hall has been a bit of surprise playing in place of an injured Devonte Chandler. A welcomed surprise at that for the nights. Hall had 12 tackles and a sack tonight.

The Knights attacked Bird all night long and eventually got to them. You could see as the game went on the frustration growing for Bird. They are not used to games like this where they cannot dictate the tone, where they don't have the success on offense or defense.


Scoring Summary - Thomas Dale Knights 36, LC Bird Skyhawks 6

Players of the Game

For LC Bird that player is CJ Donaldson. He did not have any great big runs that are memorable and much of his success came in the second half but little by little he picked up yardage. Donaldson had 36 carries and 138 yards on the night but was kept out of the endzone.

For Thomas Dale, there was no bigger impact player than Dusan Sjepanovic who had 18 tackles against the Skyhawks. Teams don't usually have that sort of game against the Skyhawks, nor do players recover a fumble or block a punt but Dusan did these things. He was a thorn in the Skyhawks side.

Final Thoughts

My thought on Thomas Dale is that this team is for real... Hermitage and Dinwiddie obviously will pose challenges but I cannot see this Knights team losing anymore than 1 or 2 games. There were some Knights fans questioning can they go undefeated... Let's see how they do Friday night against Hermitage but with the level of play I saw tonight, it is an intriguing though.

As for Bird... I did not see them last week but what I saw tonight was clearly not what I've seen from LC Bird in a long, long time. Coach Nicely I'm sure will get his guys back on track but during the offseason I heard from differing opinions on this season. After two games, I don't know that we have any better idea of what LC Bird football is capable of in 2017.