* By Tanner Davis, KNews Sports Editor *
Due to injuries at the beginning of the season, the Thomas Dale varsity football team was not expected to have a winning season. However – amid doubts and uncertainties – the Knights have displayed their resiliency with a solid 4-2 record.
Unfortunately for Matt Lawton, first string quarterback for the Knights, his senior year did not get off to a desired start when he broke his collarbone at practice, preventing him from playing against Cosby, LC Bird, and Varina.
The rest of the team stepped up in a major way resulting in a solid 2-1 record.
Senior running backs Davonte Russell and Max Oxendine provide a strong, one-two punch running game for the Knights’ offense. Russell and Oxendine have had solid performances during Lawton’s absence, opening up the pass play for the next man up in the quarterback position.
Due to a shoulder injury early in the season, Gabriel McCollin, senior multi-purpose athlete and 2nd-string quarterback for the Knights, has split the quarterback role with junior John Pierce.
Finally, Shundarius Carter has proven to be the heart and soul of Thomas Dale’s defense. Carter has a total of over 30 tackles and 2 touchdowns in the first 3 games of the season alone. The senior’s flashy start to the season has seemed to set the tone for the Knights’ defense, which has been critical since a major part of the offense was out of commission.
After a few weeks of recovery, Lawton was finally ready to lead his team in a steamroll victory over the Colonials.
On Friday, Sept. 23, the Colonial Heights Colonials visited Dale’s J. Wilson Crump Stadium looking to upset the Knights on their home field, but their hopes were swiftly crushed by a dominating defense and running game. The Knights were able to win 56-7.
While not a challenging night for hs return, Lawton provided a consistency for the offense that seemed to keep the Knights rolling smoothly down the field each play. It was a big win for the Knights.
The following week, Prince George proved to be another easy opponent with the Knights winning 49-7. but last week proved to be their biggest test since the LC Bird game.
The Knights traveled to Dinwiddie High School to face the undefeated Generals on their home field. Although Thomas Dale put up a great fight, they eventually fell to the Generals 19-28. Despite the loss, they were able to prove that they can hang with some of the best teams in the state.
The Knights look to improve their record to 5-2 at home Friday night against Petersburg for homecoming.