CHESTER, VA (WWBT) - Since L.C. Bird opened its doors in 1978, the Battle of Chester has been one of the most heated high school football rivalries in the area. Players for Bird and Thomas Dale have grown up playing with each other, against each other and near each other. Friday sees this rivalry add another chapter in our On the Sidelines Game of the Week.
Bird comes into this match-up boasting a 29-game winning streak and back-to-back state championships. The Skyhawks haven't lost since November of 2011 and have been dominant in the process. There will be a changing of the guard at quarterback on Friday night as Bird opens the 2014 season. Hanover transfer Jalen Elliott takes the reins of the offense, taking over for Terrance Ervin, who graduated last year. Ervin did not lose a game in two years as the starting quarterback, and the junior Elliott hopes to continue that streak.
Thomas Dale already has a game under its belt, as the Knights lost a 16-15 heart-breaker to Cosby in their season opener last Thursday. Dale has struggled against its arch rivals recently, losing six in a row to Bird, and the Knights haven't topped the Skyhawks in the regular season since the 2005 campaign. Dale will get a boost with the return of running back Eric Finney, who missed the opener while recovering from an injury.
Kickoff for the Battle of Chester is set for 7:00pm Friday night at Thomas Dale. Be sure to join us for On the Sidelines on Friday at 11:15pm for all of your local scores and highlights.