Bulldogs raise the bar in winPublished 12:09am Saturday, October 19, 2013
King’s Fork High School’s football team had a tough act to follow this year after last year’s team started out 5-2 and made the playoffs for the first time ever.
But Bulldogs head coach Joe Jones said the 2013 team’s motto has been to “raise the bar” even higher, and they are doing it.
Claiming the Suffolk city title, King’s Fork defeated visiting Nansemond River High School 35-20 on Friday night, improving to 6-1 for the first time in school history.
“It was a big win for us, and a good solid win for us, a good solid team win,” Jones said.
Early on, it looked like it might be close, but the Warriors often made critical errors, killing any momentum they established. Oftentimes the errors made life incredibly easy for the Bulldogs.
A Nansemond River fumble in the first quarter gave King’s Fork the ball deep in Warriors territory. Senior quarterback Uriah Adams ran it in from five yards out shortly thereafter.
But the Warriors responded with a long drive fueled by a 42-yard catch and run from junior quarterback Jermaal Wells to senior wide receiver Mel Giddens. Running by sophomore Terrance Lambert and senior Latrell “Vegas” Sandifer covered the rest of the ground. Sandifer ran it in from five yards out, and it was 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs’ next drive stalled, and Nansemond River had the ball back. But then, Wells attempted a deep pass, and junior defensive back TyQuan Weston picked it off. He returned it deep into Warriors territory, but penalties backed KF up.
It was not a problem for the Bulldogs offense, however, as Adams took the first play of the drive 41 yards for a score.
“We kind of figured they would key on Deshaun (Wethington), and they did, and we adjusted our blocking scheme a little bit on a couple plays that we thought would free up Uriah,” Jones said.
The touchdown by Adams seemed to start a trend for King’s Fork. Whenever they scored for the remainder of the game, it came almost immediately upon possession of the ball.
The Warriors could not get far on their next drive and punted. Senior Truman Boyd fielded the return, taking it 35 yards for a score.
“We put him back there because even in some of our earlier games, we couldn’t find anybody to field a punt,” Jones said. Boyd had the courage to do it, and Jones said, “That was big tonight.”
On Nansemond River’s next drive, a bad snap pinned them on their own 8-yard line, and the ensuing punt only went 12 yards. The Bulldogs started at the 20-yard line, and Adams ran it in for the score on the first play to make it 28-7 with 9:24 remaining in the second quarter.
Adams ended up with 19 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones was particularly pleased with his line. “That was as good as we’ve done all year up front,” he said.
Nansemond River adjusted to what Adams was doing, but Jones said, “Then we were able to get Deshaun into the flow of the game more.”
Wethington took the first play from scrimmage in the second half 80 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs had some fumbles in the second half, but Nansemond River was not able to capitalize on the ensuing drives.
The loss wasted another great game by Sandifer, who ended up with 30 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Wethington, however, was the top rusher of the night with 182 yards on 18 carries.
Wells threw for 83 yards on three completions, and while he only had 22 yards rushing, he had scoring runs of two and three yards in the third and fourth quarters.
Jones liked the contrast he saw from a lackluster performance on Monday against Lakeland High School.
“I thought we played with a lot more intensity and passion tonight than we did Monday, and we knew we had to,” he said.
Charles Clark, King’s Fork graduate and freshman safety at Virginia Tech, was on hand to see his former team and teammates win.
Next Friday, King’s Fork (6-1, 5-1) will visit perennial state title contender Oscar Smith High School for a re-match following last year’s double-overtime thriller. Nansemond River (2-5, 2-4) will travel on the same night to play Hickory High School.