The high school football season kicked off last Thursday, but for many local football fans, their season will kick off this Friday. That’s when the Thomas Dale Knights and the L.C. Bird Skyhawks will face off in the 38th rendition of the “Battle of Chester.”
“You live for this game in Chester,” said Thomas Dale head coach Kevin Tucker. “You want to play in it, you go to see it.”
As far as rivalry goes, it could hardly get any better. The game, voted as one of the biggest rivalries in the nation, is also part of the Great American Rivalry series. The match-up traditionally has it all: packed stands, a rowdy student body, and the community out in full force. The two schools, separated by just six and a half miles, aren’t separated by much historically, as the overall record between the two opponents stands at 18-18-1.
“It’s always a big crowd and a hard fought game,” said Thomas Dale senior Anthony Prevost, the kicker. “It would mean a lot for the team to win this one.”
Tucker, who attended Thomas Dale and played in the game, has now been a part of Dale’s coaching staff for 11 match-ups. This year’s game will be his second as Dale’s head coach. The Knights are coming off a 5-5 season and a loss to Bird in last season’s bout; they will look to bounce back this year.
On the other side of the field are the L.C. Bird Skyhawks, regarded by many experts as one