After a closely contested game to open the season between Thomas Dale and L.C. Bird in the Battle of Chester, a game that Bird won 14-7, the two teams circled their second match-up on the calendar. Bird was able to jump out early and dominate the Knights throughout and earn their fifth straight win in the series defeating Dale by a score of 42-3 last Friday night.
“This is a great win against a great team,” said Bird’s Head Coach David Bedwell to his team after the win. “Unfortunately this game doesn’t count in the standings, but to play the way we did against a team like Thomas Dale, we should be proud of ourselves.”
The two teams came into week nine in very different circumstances, with the Skyhawks surprising some critics and poised to run the table in the Dominion District again and gain their 12th straight title. The Knights’ season has been marred by injuries and not living up to the expectation of challenging for a Central District title this season.
“These guys have fought through a lot all season,” said Dale head coach Kevin Tucker. “We are proud of our team and the way they have fought.”
The Skyhawks would score on their first three possessions of the game. The first drive exclusively employed running back Paul Robertson, who would score on a 25-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Bird. On the second and third drives, it would be Terrance Ervin hitting Rasheed Worsham over the middle for an 80-yard touchdown reception on a beautiful throw, and then another touchdown on a throw from running back J.C. Thompson to Shawn Payne for 30 yards.
“Dale kept walking their safeties over to defend the run,” said Ervin. “That left the middle of the field open and we were able to capitalize.”
The Knights would score their only points of the game in the second quarter on a 28-yard field goal by kicker Matthew Mangano. Off of the first of three Bird interceptions of the evening and the first of two for safety J’Quan Clay, Bird’s Robertson would score again from five yards out, making it 28-3 at the half.
In the second half, Ervin would hit Payne for a second touchdown for 64 yards and hit Worsham for a third on an acrobatic catch in the end zone – that play traveled for 32 yards. Both of the scores came directly after interceptions- Clay finished with two interceptions and Payne also picked off an A.J. Holliday pass. It was another overall dominant effort on defense for the Skyhawks.
“We have a lot of leaders on this defense,” said Bird linebacker Jeffrey Pointer. “We have worked very hard to play together as a unit and set high goals for ourselves.”
Ervin finished with 233 yards passing on the night which set a school record. The junior also reset his own school record with 1,145 passing yards this season with one game remaining on the schedule. The Henrico transfer has thrown for 17 touchdowns this season. Robertson turned in another stellar performance with 184 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“People seem surprised at how we play offense this season,” said Bedwell. “This is how we’ve always done it- it’s just that we have someone throwing the ball better than we usually do.”
With the win, Bird is now 9-0 and 7-0 in the Dominion District. They will finish the season at Clover Hill this Friday at 7:30 p.m. Thomas Dale fell to 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the Central District, and will finish their season this Friday at Colonial Heights at 7 p.m. Bird has clinched a playoff and their 12th straight Dominion District title.
The Village News will provide full playoff coverage as Meadowbrook and Bird ready themselves for a run at a state championship. Follow us on twitter @VNewsSports or like us on Facebook to follow along live on Friday nights.