Cavs aim for home advantagePublished 9:41pm Thursday, November 1, 2012
Nansemond River (5-4, 4-4) at Lakeland (6-3, 5-3) – 7 p.m.
Last season: Nansemond River 21, Lakeland 14
“The same stakes as last year: If we win, we play at home (for the playoffs),” Lakeland Cavaliers head coach Glenwood Ferebee said of tonight’s game. “They beat us last year, so we got a little bitter taste in our mouth.”
That loss to the Warriors sent Lakeland to Norcom for the opening round of the playoffs, where they lost 46-28. This year they face the likelihood of playing King’s Fork at home or on the Bulldogs’ field.
The Cavs’ focus now, however, is on Suffolk’s other public high school, Nansemond River.
“They lost a lot of athletes that they had last year, but they’re still a good football team,” Ferebee said of the Warriors. “They’re getting better and better each week by running the same stuff. The old Nansemond River would change up stuff when it didn’t work. Now you can tell the difference in the kids that actually believe in what they’re doing.”
Lakeland looks to peak as the season concludes after a 40-0 win on the road against Indian River last week.
The Warriors, whose playoff chances are slim at best, hit the road this week after beating Hickory at home last Friday 20-6. Head coach Tracey Parker Sr. acknowledges the bevy of weapons that the Cavaliers will bring.
“Week to week you’re going to face different talents, different levels of talent, and hey, Lakeland’s got a lot of good talent,” he said. “So, we just have to come out and match their intensity.”
“It’s a cross-town rivalry, so that’s always going to be a game that’s important to the kids.”
It will be senior night for Lakeland, making the game especially meaningful for the senior-laden Cavaliers.
King’s Fork (7-2, 6-2) at Oscar Smith (8-1, 8-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season: Oscar Smith 37, King’s Fork 14
Oscar Smith hosted Grassfield last Friday and won 27-0, extending a current district win streak that dates back to 2006.
“With two state titles in the last four years, they’re the team that the rest of us in the district use as a barometer to see where we’re at as a program,” King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones said. “That’ll be the case again this week.”
The Bulldogs beat Deep Creek 60-0 last week to secure their first playoff spot in school history. To earn a playoff game at home next week, though, they must get through the Tigers.
“We’ve always went out and played hard against them,” Jones said. “We’ve gotten a little closer each year. Last year, we were up 14-13 at halftime.”
The odds may seem stacked against the Bulldogs, but Jones and his team see a golden opportunity.
“We’ve got to win the battle up front to try and get our athletes some space, and we know when we do that, we believe we can play with anybody,” he said. “I’ve never — as a player or a coach — gone into a game not believing we have a chance to win the game.”
Nansemond-Suffolk (6-3, 3-1) at Hampton Roads Academy (4-5, 0-4) – 7 p.m.
Last season: Nansemond-Suffolk 62, Hampton Roads Academy 0
The Saints’ 22-14 victory over Trinity Episcopal last week has put them in contention for the state playoffs. Though a complicated points system clouds the picture, NSA’s playoff hopes lie largely in the outcome of their game tonight against HRA and the game on Saturday between state rival Potomac School and Flint Hill.
“Nobody was going to sit there and guarantee anything, but the supposition was — Potomac loses, we win, we’re in,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said.
Johnston has his team focused on the Navigators, who lost last week again at Bishop Sullivan, 40-0.
“They are obviously not as strong as some teams we’ve played, but we’re not looking past them, overlooking them,” he said.
The Saints will aim to stop junior running back Quincy Mock, who has rushed for 1,349 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.
“(Mock) is as good as any running back we’ve seen all year, with good speed and good vision, and we’re going to have to contain him,” Johnston said.