Thomas Dale 36
By Zach Long – In a regular season finale with playoff implications, Thomas Dale downed Matoaca 36-21.
The game looked to be a tight battle, as the score was 14-14 at halftime. However, the game ended up being a tale of two halves.
With numerous injuries to key players, the Knights needed someone to step up, and Gabe McCollin did more than just that.
The backup quarterback and running back exploded for three touchdowns in the second half. He ended the night with 90 yards receiving, 70 yards rushing, and 15 yards passing. Coach Kevin Tucker gave McCollin high praise, for his ability to make plays when his team needed it most.
“The story of the game is Gabe McCollin, the kid comes in and just takes the game over, he hasn’t had many reps at tailback all year, and to come in and do that,” said Tucker. “He’s been our backup quarterback for three years now, and he plays whatever position we ask him to.
He embodies what Thomas Dale football is about.”
The Thomas Dale defense also put up an impressive performance in the second half. The “Dark Zone” held Matoaca to just one score in the final 24 minutes and created a safety.
With the loss, the road ends for Matoaca, they will miss the post-season. The Warriors finish with a record of 5-5. With the win, Thomas Dale improved to 8-2, claiming the No. 3 seed in 6A South. They’ll host James River on Friday.
L.C. Bird 41
James River 7
By Harrison Louis – With the season coming to end Friday night, L.C. Bird went on the road to play James River in the regular-season finale. At the end of the night, visiting L.C. Bird would come out with a 41-7 victory. The Skyhawks’ run defense was impenetrable, holding the Rapids to just 51 yards on 21 carries. With the playoffs coming on Friday, the Skyhawks made a statement by running the ball 48 times for 421 yards.
The Skyhawks were led by senior running back Shedrick McCall, who had another multi-touchdown game, rushing 25 times for 279 yards and scoring five touchdowns. With 30 touchdowns on the year, he is the area’s leading scorer.
The Old Dominion recruit says the Skyhawks will be ready for the playoffs and for a big game.
“More leadership by me,” McCall said. “And no more playing around, and allowed just to focus in with a new season starting Friday night.”
The Skyhawks were also led by linebacker Rayshard Ashby, who had an outstanding performance, earning 18 tackles and two sacks.
L.C. Bird finished the year 9-1, clinching the No. 3 seed in the 5A South. They’ll host No. 6 Varina on Friday. James River finished the year 6-4, clinching the No. 6 seed in 6A South, facing No. 3 Thomas Dale in an all-local match-up at Ed Karpus Field in Chester.
By Onyx Lee – This Friday night, there were several good games on hand. One of those was Meadowbrook and Dinwiddie, a game where the Monarchs would have to beat the undefeated Generals to have a chance to advance to the 5A South postseason. Dinwiddie would get the best of Meadowbrook, winning 42-10 and finishing a perfect 10-0 regular season.
The Generals rolled to a 26-0 lead early on the strength of scores by do-it-all athlete Tye Freeland, who finished with five touchdowns in the game, three via the run and two via receptions from quarterback Bryce Witt. Just before the second half, Monarchs quarterback Cameron Bullock found Jordan Jeter for a touchdown strike to make it 26-7 at the break.
After a special presentation of former Meadowbrook, Fork Union, and Virginia standout Morgan Moses receiving his retired jersey, the Monarchs looked to take the field with better life in the second half. Their first drive ended with a Jacob Grabham field goal, making it 29-10, but that’s as close as they would get. The Monarchs finish their regular season with a 4-6 mark, highlighted by a hard-earned 7-3 victory over Highland Springs earlier in the season. Dinwiddie will be the top seed in 4A East and play host to Courtland this Friday.