Matoaca 44, Thomas Dale 35
In a wild game, Matoaca defeated rival Thomas Dale 44-35 on their senior night and capped the program’s best season since 2006, finishing 7-3.
A go-ahead field goal by Justin Dyke gave Dale the lead at 37-35 and running back Jamison Harrison, returning from a hand injury delivered the knockout blow on a scoring run with 1:36 to play.
The Warriors came out swinging, and built a 24-7 lead just before the half. The beginning of the momentum shift began when Thomas Dale senior wideout Brian Bullock returned a punt 48 yards before the halftime horn to give the Knights life and make it 24-14, Matoaca at the break.
With 7:23 to go in the third quarter, Matoaca looked like they had the game in-hand, leading 34-14. That wasn’t to be. Off a turnover, quarterback Matt Lawton passed to Trent Williams for a score, and a couple drives later, fullback Traquan Booker went up the middle for a 25 yard romp to give Thomas Dale a 35-34 advantage at that point.
Matoaca’s Russell Cohen played a vital role, filling in for Harrison early as a decoy to create the illusion that Harrison wasn’t playing. Cohen scored the game’s first touchdown on the ground, then returned an interception for a score moments later to make it 14-0.
Harrison finished the game with 180 yards on the ground and his score. Quarterback Justin Ford was 9-18 passing for 85 yards. The junior threw a touchdown to Anthony Warner and carried in another himself.
The Warriors have had a breakout year under first-year coach D.L. Johnson, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Matoaca will travel to face the three-time defending state champions, L.C. Bird, on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The three seed in the 6A South, Thomas Dale finishes the regular season 6-4 and will host a first round playoff game this Friday against No. 6 Woodbridge at 7 p.m.
L.C. Bird 61, James River 0
The Skyhawks crushed the Rapids and improved to 10-0, going undefeated in the regular season for the sixth time in seven years.
Dominating in all aspects of last Friday’s game, that wasn’t far removed from L.C. Bird’s season. L.C. Bird’s defense has allowed just just 19 points (one offensive touchdown vs. the first team defense) and a minuscule 42 rushing yards. Those are season stats.
Running backs J.B. Wright and Shedrick McCall enjoyed excellent games. Wright ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns. McCall had 122 yards and two touchdowns, hauling in a third in the passing game.
Reserve corner Ike Wiggins had an exciting evening, intercepting a pass and returning it 45 yards for a score. Rayshard Ashby totaled eight tackles and Kumonde Hines had six. Both tallied two tackles for loss.
L.C. Bird will begin it’s state title defense Friday against Matoaca at home. The Skyhawks are looking for their fourth consecutive state title and qualified as the No. 3 seed in the 5A South Playoffs.
Dinwiddie 35, Meadowbrook 12
The Generals grabbed an early lead against the Monarchs and never looked back, evening Meadowbrook’s record at 5-5 to finish the regular season.
Despite the loss, the Monarchs qualified as the No. 8 seed for the 5A South playoffs and will have another shot this year at top-seeded Highland Springs, a game in which last year, the Monarchs nearly pulled off a miracle upset.
Meadowbrook was able to cut the Generals’ lead to 21-12 on the strength of Cameron Bullock’s second touchdown pass to a wide-open Jeremiah Medina with 3:56 left in third quarter, but that’s as a close as the they would get.
Cameron Bullock, filling in for Michael Hodges who left the game with an injury, completed 9-20 passes for 75 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Hodge’s status for this week was not known as of press time. Running back Jace Miller was held up by the Dinwiddie defense to 52-rushing yards, and Jordan Jeter caught a score in addition to Medina.
Quarterback Bryce Witt completed 8-13 passes for Dinwiddie, totaling 140 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 61 more yards and a third touchdown. Dakarai Wilson and K’Vaughan Pope were the recipients of those touchdowns, and Zyan Sturdivant and Travaughan Cooper found pay dirt via the ground game.
Dinwiddie is the six seed in 4A East and will have a first round match-up with third-seeded Monacan in an intriguing local match-up. As mentioned, Meadowbrook will travel to Highland Springs. Game time is 7 p.m.