Dinwiddie had racked up points and defensive stops on the way to an unbeaten record heading into Friday’s Central District match-up with visiting Thomas Dale. While the Generals emerged with a 28-19 victory, things didn’t look so good for the home team as the evening progressed.
“I was concerned at practice [Thursday],” said Dinwiddie coach Billy Mills. “I know we have had a good run, but we hadn’t really been challenged. We had experienced a team making a run at us this year.”
Thomas Dale was ready, and they capitalized on some Dinwiddie special teams mishaps early on. A shanked punt set up the Knights’ first score of the game as freshman Chris Tyree took it in from 15 yards out.
While special teams gave Thomas Dale its first opportunity, special teams came back for Dinwiddie and equalized things as a host of Generals burst through the line and the Generals’ K’Vaughan
Pope fell on a blocked punt in the end zone to tie it at 7 with 1:42 left in the second quarter.
The third quarter didn’t start well for Dinwiddie, either. On a Generals drive, there was a solemn moment when running back Joseph Tyree went down, screaming in pain with what Mills later called a dislocated ankle. The Knights stopped the drive, then went down and took the lead back with a two-yard touchdown run by Max Oxendine, making it 13-7 after a blocked extra point.
With this being a point where the Generals would seemingly sink or swim, Pope left little doubt that this was still a ball game when he returned the next kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, making it 14-13 after a Todd Anspach extra point.
Dinwiddie was then able to extend the lead early in the fourth on an 8-yard run by Zyan Sturdivant, who finished with 94 yards via the ground game. Thomas Dale stormed back and answered as
Matt Lawton hit DaVonte Russell for an 18-yard score, set up nicely by screen passes to Elijah Smith and Tyree to cut the lead to two.
The Generals sealed the deal with a defensive stop and a four-yard touchdown scamper by Tye Freeland.
“The offense couldn’t put a whole lot together early on and put our defense on the field way too much,” said Thomas Dale coach Kevin Tucker. “Dinwiddie’s got one of the best front fours next to Bird, and pretty stout linebackers too. We’ll be back and ready to go next week with Petersburg and homecoming ready to go 1-0 again.”
Thomas Dale was led on the ground by freshman Chris Tyree with 90 yards and a score. Matt Lawton, in his third game back from injury, completed 16 of 22 passes for 152 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Davonte Chandler and Zach Jacobs had good defensive games, both with six tackles. Chandler added two sacks, while Jacobs tallied one.
Next week, Thomas Dale (4-2) plays host to Petersburg (2-4) for homecoming with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Dinwiddie (6-0) travels to Prince George (3-3) for a 7:30 p.m. start time.