Cross-town rivals face offPublished 9:40pm Thursday, September 13, 2012
King’s Fork (2-0, 1-0) at Nansemond River (1-1, 0-1) – 7 p.m.
Last season – Nansemond River 27, King’s Fork 0
The first cross-town meeting of the season will feature two strong squads, one coming off consecutive victories and the other just a botched punt away from the same situation.
King’s Fork comes in with momentum after soundly defeating Indian River, but the team’s memory of last season’s loss to Nansemond River only encourages it further.
“They put it on us last year pretty good at our place, and so our kids are excited to get out and get a chance at a little redemption,” Bulldogs head coach Joe Jones said. “These kids know each other, and many of them have been teammates growing up in Pop Warner, and some have been teammates in middle school and they’re competitors on the field.”
Last week’s loss by a safety is not distracting Warriors coach Tracey Parker Sr. from his weekly game plan, and neither is hype over cross-town matches.
“We preach the fact that all games are the same,” he said. “There is no big game. There is no small game.”
He said the most sizable challenge would actually be caused by the hype.
“Probably because it is an inter-city game, the biggest challenge for us is keeping the kids focused,” Parker said. “I think the other people, especially the people in the building and the people in the community and parents, they put a little more hype on the game than we would. For us, it’s just another ballgame.”
Jones hopes to provide tailback Charles Clark with clear running lanes against a Nansemond River defense that held Grassfield to 23 yards rushing.
“There’s no secret that we’re a big run-first team,” he said. “So we’ve worked all week, as we do every week, preparing our guys to see different looks and what we think they might throw at us and also what surprises they may throw at us.”
On offense, he acknowledged the ability of Latrell Sandifer and the Warriors’ line.
“They’ve got a good, quick running back and a big offensive line,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to do our part and contain them.”
Maury (1-1, 0-0) at Lakeland (2-0, 2-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season – Lakeland 47, Maury 21
Lakeland enters its first non-district game of the season, and head coach Glenwood Ferebee expects a challenge from the Commodores.
“They’re an athletic group,” he said. “They’re fast, and they’re aggressive, so it’s going to be another tough challenge for us just like the Hickory game was, which will only make us better.”
Maury posted its first win last week in a dramatic 27-25 victory over Woodside.
A key to victory in Ferebee’s eyes is limiting the movement of Commodores quarterback Anthony Smith.
“He’s athletic, so we’ve got to make sure we keep him contained, don’t let him get free to run around,” Ferebee said. “I think that’s what he does best, so we’re going to try to keep him in the pocket and mix up a little bit of things on defense to give him a bunch of different looks to slow him down.”
Norfolk Christian (1-1, 1-0) at Nansemond-Suffolk (0-2, 0-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season – Norfolk Christian 28, Nansemond-Suffolk 21
The Saints are coming off a heart-wrenching 27-26 loss to Christchurch, and Friday night’s first conference game will serve as an example of how the Saints respond to disappointment.
“This is such a resilient group,” Saints coach Lew Johnston said. “They’ve bounced back. We’ve had great practices all week. (The) kids are focused.”
Norfolk Christian pounded Hampton Roads Academy last week in a 50-6 win. The Ambassadors’ running back George Wahee had a huge game with a 50-yard touchdown catch and a 60-yard punt return all in the same quarter.
“He’s fast,” Johnston said. “They have good running instincts, I call it. He makes the right cuts. I guess you’d say he’s got good vision, so we’ve got to position our defense, and our kids need to be in the right place to make the play. He’s quick enough that if you let him beat you to the outside, he’s gone.”