Thomas Dale QB Ethan Minter (Photo: Byron Jones/recruit804)
Thomas Dale caps off undefeated regular season
by Byron Jones, recruit804
Thomas Dale concluded its undefeated regular season in dramatic fashion Thursday evening. The Knights scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to down the Generals 19-14. With the win, Thomas Dale secured at least one home playoff game and is currently the #2 seed. If Oscar Smith losses to Indian River on Friday, Dale would secure the #1 seed in Region 6A.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Dinwiddie received the opening kickoff and wasted no time marching down the field. Brenton Hilton capped off the seven-play 67-yard drive when he scored on a 20-yard touchdown run with 9:19 remaining in the first (PAT Bell). On the Knights’ first possession, Freshman Quarterback Ethan Minter would throw his first interception of the season. He was picked off by SeVon McDowell but the Generals would turn the ball over on downs.
Thomas Dale appeared to settle down midway through the second after a fake punt gave them a key first down. However, Cedric Drumgoole would record his first goal-line interception of the evening (INT-Minter) and the Generals remained on top 7-0. Dinwiddie did not fail to capitalize on their second takeaway of the evening. Hilton once again marched his team down the field and found the endzone on a 4-yard run (PAT Bell).
After catching a break on a roughing, the passer call, Thomas Dale was back inside their 20-yard line looking to score before halftime, but Cedric Drumgoole had other plans. Drumgoole picked off Ethan Hamill and Dinwiddie would take the momentum and 14-0 lead into halftime.
Things appeared bleak for Thomas Dale coming out of halftime. They were forced into a three and out on their first series, but the “Darkside” defense came alive. Erroll Washington picked off Brenton Hilton and from there, the Knights never looked back.
Ethan Minter led his team on a 13 play 71-yard drive which concluded with him scoring from 13 yards out (PAT Failed) to make the score 14-6 Dinwiddie. Dale’s kickoff unit came up with a big recovery on the ensuing kickoff to give the offense the ball back in excellent field position.
Ethan Hamill hit DeAngelo Gray on a 21-yard screen pass (2pt Failed) and the Knights trailed the Generals by two points with 1:49 remaining in the contest. After forcing Dinwiddie to punt, Hamill would be intercepted for the second time of the evening, this time by Christian Drumgoole.
However, the “Darkside” defense answered the call with an interception of their own. Jonathan Martinez picked off Hilton and the Knights were back in business. With 8:20 remaining in the contest, sophomore running back Brandon Rose scored on a 14-yard touchdown run (PAT Taylor) to put Dale on top 19-14. Dinwiddie had a final crack at regaining the lead, but Hilton would be picked off for the third time of the evening by Jamar Johnson.
“Our kids just keep finding ways to battle back, week in and week out,” explained Head Coach Kevin Tucker. “We’ve been faced with some great challenges this week and had some guys go down with injuries… These guys are stepping up week in and week out. The young guys, there’s a no-quit, win at all cost attitude with these guys, and they play for each other.”
After the game, Knight’s quarterback Ethan Minter stated, “I struggled in the first half and I had to clear my head at halftime. Once I cleared my head, I came out in the second half and was ready to do whatever it took to win for our team.”
Thomas Dale will await the results of Friday’s matchups across Region 6A to determine who their opponent will be in next week’s regional semi-finals. Dinwiddie finishes the season 4-2 and will not make the playoffs. The Generals return a lot of players this fall and will be back in the thick of things.
– Byron Jones