CHESTER, Va. (WWBT) - If there’s an injury bug, it certainly bit Thomas Dale football in 2018. The Knights were plagued with injuries and were forced to use seven different quarterbacks during the course of the campaign.
“I didn’t have seven quarterbacks on the roster last year,” recalled Knights’ head coach Kevin Tucker.
This year, Thomas Dale is hoping to benefit from last season’s hardships. The injuries and young players having to step up showed the coaching staff some more strengths the Knights might have. It also leads to a very experienced group that will take the field this fall. Tucker returns nearly everybody that played a key role on last year’s squad, headlined by senior running back Chris Tyree. The Notre Dame commit asserted himself as the fastest high school player in the country during an off-season elite camp, and is less than 2,000 yards away from the Thomas Dale all-time career rushing record. Numbers, however, are not his main focus.
“Some games I just have to play as a decoy,” said Tyree. “Just being that we could come out with a win, even though I don’t put up big numbers, it’s not really that big of a deal to me.”
“Chris is a special player,” added Tucker. “If we go 10-0 and he rushes for 500 yards he’d be just as happy. You don’t have that very often.”
Tyree and the Knights posted a 9-3 record last season, their fifth consecutive year of nine wins. Tucker says he’s proud of that accomplishment and consistency, but this year’s Thomas Dale group is hoping to push through to double digit wins and beyond.
“Definitely got to get over that hump,” said Tyree. “The majority of the team is on their last year now. Just being that we can get over the hump for our last year and finish out our high school career strong is really important.”
“We’ve been very consistant, but what do we got to do to get over the hump to beat the Manchesters, the Colonial Forges, the Highland Springs?," added Tucker. "What do we gotta do to get better, and I told them it’s the little things.”
And even though it’s August, the Knights have their sights set on December.
“A state championship,” said Tyree of his team’s goals. “There’s way too much talent on this team for us to be going on a nine win season again. It would definitely be a disappointment if we ended up with that again.”
Thomas Dale kicks off its season at home on August 30 against Cosby.
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