Oscar Smith RB Tyvon Norfleet vs. Thomas Dale (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruit757)
The Tigers are back in the title hunt with their fourth Region 6A championship in five years
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
The Oscar Smith Tigers had a three-year run of state championship game appearances from 2015 to 2018. Winning the regional championship is a big step toward returning to the state championship game.
On Friday night, Oscar Smith manhandled Thomas Dale on the way to their fourth Region 6A championship in five years.
Oscar Smith raced to a 15-0 halftime lead and extended that to 29-0 before Thomas Dale got on the score board late in the game.
Last week against Landstown, the Tiger defense made a final stand in order to secure a 20-16 win. The margin wasn’t as close against Thomas Dale, but it was the defense that gave the Oscar Smith offense plenty of room to work.
Smith limited the Knights’ offense to 32 yards in the first half and only 107 in the second half. Thomas Dale gained 62 yards in their final drive which yielded their only score.
Oscar Smith head coach Chris Scott told recruit757: “The guys played really well. They played hard. I think last week was a great challenge (against Landstown). We had a great week of practice. It kind of woke the guys up. They came out focused. They knew and trusted one another that they would make plays against a team that’s well coached and has great speed; a familiar foe, so to speak. Our guys went out there and handled business. I’m proud of them.”
Romon Copeland led Smith with three touchdowns and 131 yards rushing and receiving. Every week, it seems that a different player rises to the occasion for the Tigers.
“It feels good to bounce back; to be regional champs,” said Copeland. “I gotta do whatever I gotta do to help my team win. I go hard for my people, my fans, my supporters.”
The win puts Oscar Smith into a VHSL Class 6 state semifinal where they will host Colonial Forge next Saturday. The two teams have faced off four times (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017) and Oscar Smith has won all four contests, including the latest game in 2017 at Colonial Forge when as a junior, UNC athlete Cam Kelly sparked a comeback when he took over as the quarterback for the Tigers in a 27-20 win.
The Tigers hope they won’t need any late game heroics this time around. Oscar Smith enters the contest on a 12-game win streak, while Colonial Forge has won four in a row. Their last loss came on November 1 to Highland Springs by a score of 27-20. Oddly enough, that seven-point margin is identical to the margin in Smith’s 13-6 season opening loss to the Springers.
– Andy Hilton