City title on the line tonightPublished 10:39pm Thursday, October 17, 2013
Nansemond River at King’s Fork
Last season: King’s Fork 29, Nansemond River 10
Aside from both teams desiring wins for post-season-related reasons, there is something else on the line tonight.
“We have our own Suffolk city title, and that’ll be up for grabs this week because they’ve beaten Lakeland and we’ve beaten Lakeland,” King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones said.
Both the Bulldogs (5-1, 4-1) and the Warriors (2-4, 2-3) played on Monday, making this a short week, but Nansemond River head coach Tracey Parker said, “We both have the same amount of time to prepare.”
“I think it’s going to be a very good game,” Jones said. “I think it’s a very evenly-matched game.”
He said, “We both like to run the ball.”
Parker said, “If we can control the run, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”
Jones acknowledged a key to the Warriors’ success when he said, “They’re big up front.”
Each team has a premier running back — senior Latrell “Vegas” Sandifer for the Warriors and sophomore Deshaun Wethington for the Bulldogs.
Of Sandifer, Jones said, “He’s an excellent running back, and we’ve got to be at the top of our game defensively to contain him.”
Given that King’s Fork uses a triple option, Parker said the Warriors are not solely obsessed with halting Wethington.
“We’re more focused on stopping the run game period,” he said. “They’ve got some other guys that can hurt you as well, so I think when you focus on one person, then the other aspects of the option game can hurt you.”
Jones recalled NR junior quarterback Jermaal Wells from 7-on-7 drills in the past and said he presents a lot of challenges defensively, with a dual threat capability.
King’s Fork stands at 5-1 for the first time in school history, but Parker said, “At this point in the season, they’re all important games with the current playoff system, so you kind of leave the records out, period.”
Neither team has any major injuries among active players.
Hickory at Lakeland
Last season: Lakeland 27, Hickory 0
The Cavaliers (0-6, 0-5) are still searching for their first win after coming quite close against the now 5-1 King’s Fork High School on Monday.
“We feel like the King’s Fork game we should have won,” Lakeland head coach Bryan Potts said. “If a few calls would have gone our way, I think we would have gotten the victory.”
The loss did not deflate the team, though. “The guys are even more motivated to get their first win,” Potts said.
Tonight presents a prime opportunity with a big crowd expected on homecoming night.
Potts said his players know what to expect when the Hawks (2-4, 2-3) are on offense. He said they do not do many different things, but they favor a power running game straight at their opponents.
He highlighted Hickory sophomore fullback Cameron Conrad. “He carries a lot of the load for them,” Potts said. He said the fullback “is real good for creating holes. It’s going to be a physical match-up for our linebackers.”
The coach was also excited to report no players will miss the game due to injury for the first time this season since opening week. Senior center Jerrell Demiel, whose absence has been noticeable, was cleared to return on Tuesday.
NSA at Greenbrier Christian
Last season: Nansemond-Suffolk 57, Greenbrier Christian 6
The Saints’ emotional 21-16 loss on homecoming night to rival Norfolk Academy dropped them to 1-2 in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools.
“I think the main thing we pointed out to them is it did not affect our ranking in the states,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said. Nansemond-Suffolk (5-2 overall) is ranked third among Division II schools in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association. The Saints will look to win out in their last three games and hold onto that spot.
Johnston made it clear he was not trying to be hurtful in his appraisal of Greenbrier Christian Academy (1-6, 0-3), a Division IV team.
“When you score 72 points against Portsmouth Christian and Portsmouth Christian beat them, it’s hard to get the kids motivated to think it’s a big game,” he said.
He said the Gators’ offensive schemes can vary dramatically from the spread to the wishbone, but he admits most of the focus this week has been internal, looking to fix offensive miscues.
Sophomore kicker/offensive guard/linebacker Ben Anderson will be out with a stress fracture in his foot and junior Camden Sutton, who has filled in well for senior Jack Russell at linebacker, will be out with a badly sprained ankle. After being ejected last Friday, senior Michael Tyler Lepore will serve a one game suspension per VISAA rules.
All of the football games will kick off at 7 p.m.