In a year that many observers wrote off Thomas Dale after they lost their last three games of the regular season, the Knights made a surprising run in the playoffs. Their perseverance culminated in the state semi-final game when they met an athletic and bigger Oscar Smith team last Saturday, ultimately losing 21-3.
“I’m just really proud of our team after they were able to turn it around from a three game slide,” head coach Kevin Tucker said. “It feels good to make it to the state semi-final, but it just wasn’t the outcome we were looking for.”
Thomas Dale wasn’t able to stop the big plays of Oscar Smith, nor were they able to get their own offense going as they suffered from turnovers. Two costly turnovers happened when the Knights were driving the ball well and inside Tiger territory.
“We had a pretty good game plan going in; we were driving the ball but had some turnovers at key points in the game,” Tucker said. “We can’t do those things at this time in the year; we left 14, maybe 21 points on the board.”
A would-be turning point in the game came when the Knights were down 14-3 and senior linebacker Wayne Brown intercepted Oscar Smith. It set the Knights up in good field position but gave the ball back after a fumble.
Although a state championship was not accomplished this season, the Knights have a lot of good talent and experience to look forward to in 2016 as they return starting quarterback Matt Lawton and running back Max Oxendine.