Knights finish season 9-4
By Soren Rutherford
Oscar Smith 29, Thomas Dale 7
The Tigers put the clamps on Thomas Dale in the Region 6A championship game with an overwhelming display of defense, ending a successful Knights season by a score of 29-7.
Through the first half, Oscar Smith had held the Knights to just 32 total yards of offense and 139 for the entire game. Besides Thomas Dale’s final drive late in the fourth quarter that gave the Knights their only score of the game, they had just 77 yards of offense.
Oscar Smith’s first score of the game came in the first quarter after they blocked a Knights’ punt and giving them a short field, setting up a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Romon Copeland, with a converted two-point conversion by Ricky Thompson Jr. to put the Tigers up 8-0 early.
On offense for the Tigers in the first half, it was quarterback Ethan Vasko who kept the ball several times for 91 yards, taking the Knights’ defense off guard. Vasko also threw a touchdown pass to receiver Amonte Jones with 24 seconds left in the first half to put Smith up 15-0.
Despite being shut out in the first half, Dale did come up with big plays on defense. Including back to back plays from Shamus Jones, who sacked Vasko and came up with a tackle on the next play to force fourth down in the second quarter.
Late in the first half the Knights had also forced a turnover on downs with a sack on Vasko in their redzone, but were forced to punt after a three- and-out due to an incomplete pass on a trick play where they had receiver Antonio Goins pass the ball.
In the second half, Oscar Smith continued their domination with back-to-back fourth downs forced onto Thomas Dale and then a second strike from Romon Copeland on a 57-yard rushing touchdown to put the Tigers up 22-0 with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Oscar Smith forced another turnover on downs on Thomas Dale’s 45 yard line that set up a 59-yard touchdown reception from Vasko to Copeland on third and 20, with 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter to make it 29-0.
Thomas Dale’s only score of the game came after a Copeland reception, with a touchdown pass from Jasiah Williams to Goins late in the fourth quarter to stop the Tigers’ shutout attempt.
Oscar Smith (12-1) will play in the Class 6A state semifinals against Colonial Forge (11-2) for a chance to move on to the state championship game.
The Knights finished the 2019 campaign at 9-4. That gives Thomas Dale its sixth straight season with nine wins and seventh straight winning season under coach Kevin Tucker. After suffering two disappointing losses to Hermitage and Prince George, the Knights reeled off five straight wins, including a 36-6 romping of Ocean Lakes, before falling to the Tigers.