Saturday, Dec. 12, proved to be a historic day for the Knights of Thomas Dale and all of the parents, family and friends who sat on cold bleachers, often in the rain, and cheered on the team. The team’s regular season victories and the playoffs all culminated in this Saturday at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, as Thomas Dale met Lake Braddock to battle for the Central District State Championship.
In the stands were two faithful men, fathers of two of Thomas Dale’s star players. Both men were also men Thomas Dale alumni and former Knight football players. Allen Jackson and Doug Evans talked of the coming game and the time when they were on the team and went to the state championship, only to loose the game.
On the field, junior Demetrick Jackson, #12, and senior Drake Evans, #30, prepared for their last high school football game of the season, which proved to be a hard-fought, white-knuckled game. Play after play, both teams fought for every inch of ground and every point. Jackson scored for Thomas Dale, while the Braddock players kept Evans bottled up. In the stands, Allen Jackson and Doug Evans screamed and cheered until they nearly lost their voices.
Then came the final play and the final score, and the Thomas Dale Knights had won their first ever state championship. On the field and in the stands, it was chaos!
Allen Jackson and Doug Evans were ecstatic. These two proud fathers and former football team members watched as their sons celebrated on the field and as Drake Evans did a “victory lap” in front of the stands holding the championship trophy high for all to see.
“That’s my boy!” Doug Evans yelled. “What a team! What a game! I am so proud of him - of all of them! That’s my boy! Man, I love him! Even if they hadn’t won, I still love him. But this ....” Overcome with emotion, Doug paused, his jaw tightly clinched. Shaking his head, his voice barely a whisper, he continued, “but this, this is great!”