RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Thomas Dale High School rolled through the regular football season with a perfect record this spring and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, but all the pieces are in place for head coach Kevin Tucker’s team to be even better this fall.
“This year, we have a lot more experience,” Tucker said. “Last year, we were very young. We only had 13 seniors, so a lot of the underclassmen were asked to step up and play big roles. We get all of those kids back this year.”
The Knights return nine starters on defense and six on offense.
“I am excited about the depth and experience we have coming back,” Tucker said.
Tyler Leinberger will anchor the Knights’ offensive line for one more year before the 6-foot-5, 310-pound tackle heads to East Carolina.
“Everyone is actually coming together. I think this team is one of the ones that sticks together and bonds really well,” Leinberger said.
“He’s got two freshmen and two sophomores beside him, so we are asking him to step up and be a great leader,” Tucker said of Leinberger.
Thomas Dale opens at Cosby High School on Friday, but the Knights’ second game against L.C. Bird High School is already on the mind of senior receiver Kyon Turner.
“Of course, Bird,” Turner said when asked what game he’d circled on his calendar. “I can’t wait for that week. I love it. Energy is immaculate.”
“You always pencil in the Bird week,” Tucker agreed. “That is a huge rival game for us. It sets the tone for us for the rest of the season. If we can go in that game and be competitive and showcase Thomas Dale football, then I always feel confident about our season.”