Gen­er­als

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Base­ball -

his mind a lit­tle, know­ing Din­wid­die was play­ing Dale again.

He had some big hits de­fen­sively, and also picked up 49 yards rush­ing and scored Din­wid­die’s last touch­down.

“I think I’m hap­pier than you are for you,” Din­wid­die coach Billy Mills said to Tyree.

“He’s a player, on both sides of the ball. I was never so happy for him to make that last touch­down,” Mills said. “That was scary stuff last year. What that kid’s come back from . ... He’s worked his tail off to get back. I was hop­ing he’d come out and have a big game, and he did.”

Din­wid­die lost 31-27 in the Class 4 state cham­pi­onship game to Salem last sea­son. If the Gen­er­als are go­ing to be back in the state ti­tle hunt this sea­son — and there’s ev­ery rea­son to think they will be — they’re go­ing to have to have their de­fense take the spot­light in tight games at times.

Din­wid­die came in av­er­ag­ing al­most 55 points. The Gen­er­als had scored 60 or more points in three of their four games, with the only nail-biter a 25-20 vic­tory over Salem.

But de­fense had to keep them in the game in the first half after Dale re­peat­edly got on Din­wid­die’s side of the field.

The Knights, who were ham­pered by penal­ties, reached the Din­wid­die 45, 37, 19 and 33 on their first four pos­ses­sions. The first two drives ended in punts, and the Gen­er­als got fourth­down stops on the next two.

After shut­ting down the Knights at the 19, the Gen­er­als went on an 11-play, 81yard touch­down drive mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter.

After stop­ping an­other Dale threat, quar­ter­back K’ymon Pope hooked up with Cla­trey Reese, who out­fought a de­fender for a 40-yard touch­down pass that put Din­wid­die ahead 14-0.

“We do de­fense an hourand-a-half a day, maybe even two,” Tyree said. “If there’s some­thing wrong with our de­fense, we get it right.

“When it’s a game like this, when our of­fense is down, our de­fense picks them up.”

The Gen­er­als got a pickme-up with the re­turn of K’Vaughan Pope, who has com­mit­ted to Ohio State. He missed the past three weeks with a badly sprained an­kle. Mills said he didn’t want Pope on the field un­til he was 100 per­cent. He didn’t prac­tice un­til Wed­nes­day.

“Hav­ing him be­side me is like a sigh of re­lief,” Tyree said. “I just play dif­fer­ent when he’s out there. We have a chem­istry where we know where the ball is go­ing to go.”

Dale, which was av­er­ag­ing 36 points, had just 20 yards rush­ing in the sec­ond half. Din­wid­die tacked on touch­downs from K’ymon Pope (18 car­ries, 116 yards, two touch­downs) and Tyree. Zyan Stur­di­vant added 88 yards rush­ing on 23 car­ries.

“Tonight was a big step,” Mills said. “We needed that game big. We’ve just got to keep get­ting a lit­tle bet­ter week and play our best game in De­cem­ber hope­fully.”

SHELBY LUM/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Din­wid­die’s K’ymon Pope evades two mem­bers of the Thomas Dale de­fense. Pope fin­ished with 18 car­ries for 116 yards and two touch­downs. He also com­pleted 6 of 15 passes for 68 yards, in­clud­ing a 40-yard touch­down pass to Cla­trey Reese.

SHELBY LUM/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

The ball is stripped from Collin Holmes of Thomas Dale and re­cov­ered by a Din­wid­die de­fender.

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