It was a perfect September night for some Friday night light action as Thomas Dale visited Chester E. Fritz Stadium to take on Hermitage .
Early in the game, both the Panthers and the Knights had turnovers. In the first three minutes, three turnovers had occurred between the two teams. The whole first half was a defensive showdown, as Thomas Dale went into the half with a 3-0 lead. After some adjustments, both teams started scoring some points and in the end, Hermitage came out on top.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” explained Hermitage coach Patrick Kane. “When we kicked off, we were able to pin them in deep. The kickoff team had great coverage. The defense came out onto the field, and the field position flipped the whole quarter. The important thing is, we capitalized on those opportunities and ended up making key plays the rest of the game.”
Hermitage was led by quarterback James Carney on offense, going 17 for 26, for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Leading the rushing attack was running back Webster Hill IV, with 17 rushes for 73 yards, and running back CJ Jackson with 12 rushes for 56 yards.
These performances would not be possible without the defense creating turnovers and generating offensive opportunities throughout the game. Defensive back Jebril Murray had 2 interceptions that were in vital points of the game, one of which sealed the deal with 1 minute to go. Linebacker Mateo Jackson had 10 tackles in the game.
Kane explained the importance behind creating those turnovers throughout the game led to their victory.
“In the end, the pick helped stop the drive there to seal the game,” he said. “What happened in the second half was after every kickoff, we scored. We kickoff, we pinned them on defense. We flipped the field the whole half and the offense was able to capitalize on those opportunities.”
Jackson emphasized how important Kane’s mottos are in games like these.
“Coach Kane, one of the mottos he preaches is, wear them out in the first half, and finish them in the second half,” Jackson said. “And that’s what our defense did. We kept churning, we kept giving our offense the ball back and we made some plays. The offense in the second half, they started to move the ball a little better, they got on the opposing side of the field, and we were able to pin them deep and make some plays on defense, and it made them one dimensional.”
The Knights played a hard-fought game all night against a tough Hermitage team. On offense/special teams, kicker Garrett Graves was able to put them on the board 3-0 early on a 25-yard field goal. They were also able to score a touchdown later on in the game against a stout Panthers defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Thomas Dale was stellar in the first half, allowing no points to be scored. And although they allowed 3 touchdowns to be scored in the second half, they kept Hermitage in check and forced them to punt several times.
With the win, Hermitage moves to 3-0 to start the season and will play Henrico at home Friday at 7 p.m. Thomas Dale falls to 2-1 and will play conference-rival Matoaca on the road Friday at 7 p.m.