High school football is returning to the area with a vengeance, as Thomas Dale looks to continue its success and defend its Division 6 state championship and other area schools look to complete unfinished business from the 2009 season.
David Bedwell’s Lloyd C. Bird Skyhawks look to be the class of Chester-area football this season. In defeating Dale earlier last season, many thought the Skyhawks were bound for glory in the state playoffs. A devastating injury, however, to quarterback Anthony Harris derailed Bird in its playoff loss to Dale.
A huge offensive line in front of Harris and a stable of capable running backs should have the scoreboard lighting up like a vintage pinball machine. On defense, the linebacking trio of James Santiago, Dane Wisnosky and Deon Clarke are outstanding. Harris, who’s UVa. bound, roams the secondary and could be a candidate for district player of the year on both sides of the ball.
Meadowbrook’s dream season ended last year on the final drive at Thomas Dale. The Monarchs have had eight months to stew over what might have been. Troy Taylor’s staff leans heavily on one of the most exciting players to ever grace the field at Meadowbrook in All-Metro first teamer Dimico Phillips. He is joined on the offense by massive Irabor Imbosia, who has committed to UR, and Austin Minnicks.
Skill players Akil Dorsey, Devon Lloyd, Erik Richardson and Jacauray Thomas will put points on the board. The defense is again smallish, but lightning quick. Dashaun Thompson, Marcus Beckwith and Mike Crowell will provide pressure from a three-man front, while a bevy of linebackers and defensive backs will provide support in wrecking havoc with area offenses.
Thomas Dale will have a new look on the sidelines for the first time in nearly a quarter century, as Kevin Tucker replaces longtime coach Vic Williams, who retired last spring. Tucker was born and raised as a disciple of Dale football, so expect little change. Tucker was, however, a part of the wide-open brand of football at Hampden-Sydney, so the offense may be a bit less predictable.
Lorenzo Fields and Demetric Jackson are very talented running backs for the squad, which was hit hard by graduation. Quinton Taylor will be the quarterback, while Adam White and Sam Hartman will anchor a retooled offensive line. On the other side of the ball, 10 new starters will hope to duplicate what was one of the area’s stingiest defenses last season. Tucker will be greeted by the unenviable task of opening his coaching career against Varina, Manchester and Bird, which are all ranked in everyone’s pre-season top 10s.
Pat Manuel’s Matoaca Warriors have been stuck in a .500 rut for the last several years, but several stalwart linemen are returning from a team that had both Thomas Dale and Meadowbrook on the ropes last year. John Pond and Ronnie Ransome should be able to open holes for standout back Dequan Turner. A.J. Moore moves into the quarterback slot, and should find Tevin Johnson to be his best target.
The defense returns six starters and should keep the Warriors in most games. Blake Roulo, Bruce Baskerville, Ervin Ramos, Cole Williams, Michael Harris, Jehrad Gholson, Deon Turner and Jaquante King should allow the Warriors to be an improved defensive unit.