By Soren Rutherford
Thomas Dale 55, Grassfield 28
They say that it’s all about peaking at the right time. It appears as if Thomas Dale is doing just that and building momentum. Entering the playoffs riding a three-game winning streak, they made it four by defeating Grassfield 55-28 in the first round of the region 6A playoffs.
The offensive outburst was their biggest scoring output in a playoff game in 23 years. The Knights put up 55 points against the Grizzlies, their largest point total since scoring 64 against L.C. Bird in 1996.
Carrying most of that momentum has been quarterback and wide receiver Jasiah Williams, who has amassed 19 total touchdowns in his past four games, including five against Grassfield.
“Our effort and chemistry opens up the field more and makes things more visible,” said Williams in regards to Dale’s recent triumphs. “Other than that, nothing much has changed.”
The University of Richmond commit went 7-for-10 in passing with 194 yards and three touchdowns, adding 87 yards, and two more scores on the ground.
“He has taken control of the offense,” said Dale head coach Kevin Tucker. “We told him over the past couple of weeks to step up, and Jasiah has stepped up to the plate.”
Through Williams and the Knights offense, Thomas Dale built a 48-7 lead through three quarters. That included two touchdown receptions to running back – receiver DeAngelo Gray for 59 and 69 yards. Antonio Goins hauled in a touchdown pass as well. Running back Jordan Branch also contributed to Dale’s dominant ground game with 123 yards rushing and two scores, including a 43-yarder.
On the defensive end, Thomas Dale took over the airwaves in the first three quarters, with cornerback Antonio Goins picking off Grassfield quarterback Demani Ward in the first quarter, cornerback Kemauri Hewlett intercepting him in the second, and even Jasiah Williams at free safety pulling down one to complete the trifecta.
Dale’s pass rush played a role, too. Crishaun Saunders recorded a sack and Judah Jones recorded two tackles for losses.
Scores for the Grizzlies came mostly in the fourth quarter, with an 80-yard touchdown reception to receiver Ethan Buenviaje from quarterback Grant Swanger, a six-yard pass from Demani Ward to Dante Ramirez, and another Ward pass to tight end Trey Lancaster.
With an Ocean Lakes (8-3) victory over Cosby, the Knights (8-3) will travel to Virginia Beach to play the Dolphins in the second round of the Region 6A playoffs.