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PREVIEW: L.C. Bird vs. Thomas Dale (VA)

September 3, 2013

CHESTERFIELD, VA – The annual “Battle of Chester” is taking center stage again as the LC Bird Skyhawks meet the Thomas Dale Knights on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (EST) Over 6,000 fans are expected at Bird High School to witness a game that’s part of the 2013 Great American Rivalry Series presented by the U.S. Marine Corps and Hibbett Sports.

The rivalry between the two schools separated by just six miles began in 1980 and ended in a scoreless tie. Bird has an all-time series lead of 22-18-1 and has won five straight (14-7 and 42-3 last season) and 11 of the last 13 overall.

The Skyhawks are coming off an incredible season in which they went 14-0 and won their first-ever state championship. They beat Ocean Lakes 14-0 in the 1st Group/AAA Division 6 title game.

In order to repeat, however, Bird will have to replace back Paul Robertson. In his first season as a starter, Robertson ran for 2,935 yards and 11 TDs (he had 1,144 yards and 11 TDs in four playoff games). He was recently named the starting back at Hampton. But back in the mix is senior quarterback Terrance Ervin (1,801 yards and 23 TDs), who’s committed to Liberty; senior receiver/defensive back Shawn Payne, who’s committed to Virginia Tech; along with a senior transfer from Meadowbrook in Earl Hughes (1,835 yards and 33 TDs).

The Knights are coming off a disappointing season by their standards, with a plethora of injuries leading to a 4-6 campaign. Coach Kevin Tucker’s team lost Virginia Tech-bound back D.J. Reid (1,159 yards and 11 TDs), but it returns junior back Eric Finney, who started three games last season and ran for over 500 yards and six TDs; senior safety C.J. Reavis, who’s committed to Virginia Tech; and junior defensive lineman Darvin Taylor, who has received offers from the likes of Alabama and Auburn.

Dale opened its season last Thursday night with a 21-14 win over Cosby.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.