It was another cold night in the Old Dominion as the No. 2 Manchester Lancers took on the No. 3 Thomas Dale Knights at Lloyd Swelnis Stadium. Both teams came into tonight’s match-up with huge double-digit wins in the first week of the 6A playoffs. We were in for a big game as both defenses are a force to be reckoned with coming into the game.
The first half was fast, but there was little action happening. Both teams had slow starts on offense, and the defenses held their ground. Manchester scored first on a 5-yard pass to running back Jaysen Glover to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter.
As time passes, Thomas Dale scored on a 3-yard run by wide receiver Michael Bailey to tie it at 7 at halftime. Manchester owned the second half, with Quarterback Brendon Clark scoring the next three touchdowns with his legs. He scored on a 4-yard run early in the third quarter to make it 13-7.
Then, 2 minutes later, the Lancers scored again with a 2-yard run by Clark, and late in the third, Clark took it in from 2-yards out to make it 27-7 at the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, running back Jaysen Glover got his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard carry to make it 34-7 Manchester.
With 5 minutes to go, running back Kevin Henderson Jr. took it in from 9-yards out to bring the game to a final of 41-7 Manchester.
Quarterback Brendon Clark went 9 for 18 passing for 109 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 24 rushing attempts for 106 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Isaiah Todd rushed 16 times for 127 yards. Running back Kevin Henderson rushed 4 times for 42 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jaysen Glover ran 8 times for 22 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 2 catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
“Both our offensive and defensive lines stepped up,” said Manchester coach Tom Hall. “We challenged them in the first half, and we put on a clinic in the second half. We really didn’t need Brendon to throw the ball tonight, they took the game upon themselves, and it was an old-school football game. I’m really proud of our big boys up front.”
Coach Hall praised how great his group of running backs are and how they dominate how the game is played.
“Our pace was getting to them. Our kids came off the ball fast and with purpose. Our running game has really transformed a bit over the last 4-5 weeks. Isaiah is getting into the flow, Jaysen Glover is getting back into it. We are a spread-out team, but we want to run the ball first. As long as that keeps on improving and we can win football games without Brendon Clark throwing 35 times, I’ll take it.”
Thomas Dale did not get the result they had hoped for. The first half was an impressive run, allowing only 7 points to slide by, and the offense clicking running the ball. But the second half was a different story, with missed tackles and turnovers resulting in points for Manchester. Although Thomas Dale did not play well tonight, they had a great season, finishing 9-3 on the season and having a lot to look forward to in the years to come.
Thomas Dale finished the year with an impressive 9-3 record. Manchester (12-1) will travel to Colonial Forge next Friday for the 6A playoff regional finals.