Thomas Dale RB Deangelo Gray (Photo: Mary Ann Magnant/recruit804)
Knights host Eagles in Region 6A semi-finals
by Byron Jones, recruit757
#3 Franklin County Eagles (4-2) vs. #2 Thomas Dale Knights (5-0) 7:00 p.m. Thursday
Franklin County will make a three-hour trip from Rocky Mount, VA to Chester this evening for a showdown with Thomas Dale in the Region 6A semi-finals. Thomas Dale earned a 50-0 victory over the Eagles in the first and only matchup between the two schools back in 2017.
Franklin County is making its fourth consecutive playoff appearance. They began the season 4-0 but have struggled down the stretch. Lord Botetourt handed them a 57-7 loss in week five and William Fleming downed them 41-27 last weekend.
Thomas Dale is making their eighth consecutive playoff appearance and a win Thursday night will put them back in the regional finals for the second straight season. The Knights are averaging 34.6 points/game on offense and are surrendering 18 points/game on defense. Coach Kevin Tucker and his staff have utilized a great mix of seniors and standout underclassmen to get the job done.
Freshman Quarterback Ethan Minter, who picked up his first Division I offer from UVA last week, has thrown for 565 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. On the ground, Minter has rushed for 250 yards and five scores.
Running back Jordan Branch should be back in action this week after missing last week’s game. Branch has rushed for 384 yards on 63 carries and has scored seven touchdowns. His backup, Brandon Rose filled in nicely for him during his absence last week. Rose rushed for 82 yards and the game-winning touchdown against Dinwiddie. For the season, Rose has recorded 264 yards and four touchdowns.
The “X” factor of the Knights offense is DeAngelo Gray. On the ground, Gray has rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns. As a receiver, he’s hauled in 11 passes for 222 yards and two scores. He’s also scored on five two-point conversions.
On defense, Thomas Dale is led by senior Hazzon Ellis. Ellis has posted 48 total tackles and five sacks in just four games this season. VMI signee Shamus Jones has notched 45 total tackles, eight pass breakups and an INT. Sophomore Brandon Cammarasana has made his presence well known early in his varsity career. Cammarasana has recorded 45 total tackles and two sacks.
Kickoff is set for 7:00PM. I will be on site covering the contest. Be sure to follow recruit804 on Facebook and Twitter for scoring updates. Post-game review to follow.
– Byron Jones