Thatch, the 6-2, 180-pound safety, finished the game with four solo tackles and a bevy of notable hits, often on blocking fullbacks and tight ends in run support. One hit, on a toss sweep, elicited an audible moan from the large and partisan crown at Northeast Guilford.
Pressley, the consensus #1 college prospect in the state of North Carolina and one of the top defensive linemen in the nation, contributed 5 tackles and a tackle for loss. Again demonstrating the quickness, reaction time, and willingness to pursue that have made him such a highly prized recruit, Pressley was less than thrilled with his performance.
"In the first half of the game, I played just ok. In the second half, I went all out and played really good. I've got to go all out all the time," a visibly upset Pressley said Friday night after the team's 7-6 loss.
Pressley, who often went up against 6-3, 305-pound Jonathan Edwards and was the object of double teams throughout the game, still managed to slow a typically potent Northeast Guilford interior rushing attack.
Jamaal Edwards, who has committed to Florida State, was held largely in check out of the backfield by a Northeast defense led by Maryland-bound Dennis Marsh and impressive LB/FB Matt Deese, who has received interest from South Carolina, Wake Forest (who had a representative at the game), and to a lesser extent UNC and N.C. State.
"We gave a good effort, it just wasn't our best game. Everyone played good, the offensive line played good, everyone played good.. We just didn't come out on top, that's it," Edwards said.
Dudley's loss, the team's fourth, isn't indicative of the talent level of individual players such as Thatch, Edwards, and Pressley. The inability of their offensive line to open holes for Edwards was the key to the game.
"They beat us at the line of scrimmage. They're defensive line beat our offensive line," said Dudley coach Victor Floyd. "They beat us on the mistake on the punt, and we weren't able to capitalize on our opportunities."
Once again, the "Dudley Three" demonstrated why there are so highly prized. The college coaches in the stands, or pacing the sidelines, didn't leave disappointed. The real question is which will feel the same on Signing Day?
Photos are by Bryan McGuire