Warriors leave nothing to chance in rout of Truckers

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

Two weeks ago, the Nansemond River football team faltered in the second half of its home opener, managing only 40 yards in a 14-10 loss to Kecoughtan. Perhaps fearing another such collapse, the Warriors (1-2, 0-0) left nothing to chance on Friday night, scoring four first-half touchdown on their way to a 40-7 rout of Portsmouth’s Churchland High School.

&uot;Finally!&uot; said Nansemond River coach Bryan Maus. &uot;We eliminated our mistakes tonight, and the balls bounced our way. This game can be fun when we do things right!&uot;

They did things right from the opening kickoff. After an illegal procedure penalty gave the Truckers a second-and 15 at their own 25, the Warrior defense stuffed them for no gain on the next two plays. On fourth down, Churchland tried a fake punt, but Fred Spratley intercepted P.J. Matteson’s pass, and the Warriors had a first down on the Churchland 40.

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They managed only four yards on the first three plays, but Dominic Strand hit tight end Daniel Spaulding for an 18-yard gain on fourth down, giving the Warriors a first down on the 18. On the next play, Trayce McPherson bolted up the middle for a touchdown, and the Warriors had a 7-0 lead less that five minutes into the game.

&uot;We just wanted to pound, pound, pound,&uot; said Strand, who finished the night going six-for-nine for 45 yards. &uot;After that, we could figure out what we wanted to attack.&uot;

Nansemond River got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff when they knocked the ball from Junious Carter’s hands and recovered it at the 15. But the Warriors could only manage five yards, and had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Travis Hoegh.

No matter. Terrell Artis broke in front of Jared Slatter for another interception, returned it to the Trucker 10, and charged around the left end to score on first down.

Churchland got its first first down on the next drive, but the Warriors’ defense stiffened at the Trucker 45, and got the ball back at their own 29.

McPherson scurried 14 yards on first down, and a 17-yard strike from Strand to Dominic Scott got the Warriors to the Churchland 30. McPherson ran to the 10, and a screen pass to James Capehart got to the five. Two plays later, McPherson scored his second touchdown on a run around the right end, and the Warriors were up, 24-0.

A late-hit penalty and 16-yard pass got Churchland as close as the Warriors 26, but Dennis Conley and Scott charged into the backfield to sack Trucker quarterback Andre Gorham twice, and the Warriors got the ball back again on their own 37.

McPherson stole the show again, rumbling 46 yards to his third touchdown of the half to give his team a 31-0 halftime advantage.

McPherson picked up where he’d left off in the third quarter, charging 22 yards to the Trucker 48. Scott ran the Warriors to the 36, but the next plays netted only two yards. On third down, Strand faded back to pass. Seeing no one, he did the honors himself, running 34 yards for a 37-0 lead.

The Churchland offense managed 56 yards in the second half (and 97 the entire night), but 43 of them came on a pass from Eddie Prince to LeGrande Duke that set up the Truckers’ only score, a four-yard dash by Carter.

Hoegh finished off the Warriors’ scoring with a 35-yard field goal with 3:35 to play.

Next Friday, Nansemond River will face its biggest challenge yet when it hosts crosstown rival Lakeland.

&uot;I hope this game gives us some momentum going into Southeastern district games,&uot; said McPherson, who carried 11 times for 151 yards. &uot;My line really did their job tonight, and that’s what we want to do to everyone.&uot;

Norview 33, Lakeland 14

Donte Anderson carried 26 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns as Norvew charged to a 33-13 defeat of host Lakeland (1-2). Brandon Harris had 92 yards and a touchdown for the Pilots. Cornelius Copeland scored both touchdowns for Lakeland.