By Jason Norman
Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 23, 2003
It wasn’t just a football season that ended Friday night at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. It was an era.
With his team’s 46-14 defeat of visiting Hampton Roads Academy, NSA coach Terry Crigger ended his 26-year coaching career – the longest of any individual in NSA history – with a 134-68 record. His resume included three undefeated seasons, three state titles, 10 conference titles, and the TCIS Sportsmanship award for the past four years.
&uot;Terry Crigger coached his players to win with class and lose with grace,&uot; Duke Van Selow read over the public address system. &uot;He taught his players to work as a team.&uot;
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Kyle Jett made sure to go out a winner in his own farewell performance, overcoming a separated shoulder to score three touchdowns in the win. Jack Wright, also ending his career, ran for one touchdown and threw to Adam Gillette for another. Gillette, Brock Van Selow, Aaron Schaubach, Andy Bunch, Blake Salmon, and Dennis Harrell went out as winners.
&uot;This was a good way to end the season,&uot; Crigger said. &uot;It feels good. It’s time. I’ve got a nine-year-old playing football at the beach every Friday night, and I don’t ever get to watch him. It’s like a family divorce. Life’s going one way, and I’m going the other. I’ll miss the kids more than anything else.&uot;
NSA started its first drive on its own 18, and Jett, Brock and Tyler Van Selow combined for 28 yards over the first four plays. At the Saint 46, Wright took an option around the right side. He faked a flip to Kelvin Demps, but two tacklers weren’t fooled, grabbing Wright around the waist. This time, Wright really did flip the ball to a wide-open Demps, who hauled all the way down the field for a touchdown.
HRA fell on a Tyler fumble and tied the score on the next drive, but the Saint running game went right back to work, as Jett, Tyler, Brock, Wright and Demps got to the HRA 30.
On first down, Wright faded toward the right sideline, and was grabbed by two tacklers. He spun free and bolted back across the field, charging all the way to the eight. On the next play, he lobbed a pass to Gillette to end the first quarter ahead 14-7.
NSA’s defense held and got the ball five minutes into the second half at midfield. Wright hit Brock for six-yards, then snuck up the middle, faked out a defender, and ran all the way into the endzone.
Again, the Saint defense held, and Jett brought in a punt at the Saint 22. He charged toward the right sideline, motioning for his teammates to form a blocking line. Jett got near the sideline, spun back toward the center, then outran the defense all the way down the side for a touchdown.
The Saints weren’t finished, as Demps pulled down an interception at the HRA 36. Devin Arnold caught a pass at the eight, and Jett rumbled around the left side to end the half ahead 34-7.
NSA scored its last two touchdowns without the offense even taking the field, as Jett returned an interception 62 yards down the left sideline for a score early in the third quarter, and Adam Nash blocked a punt and scooped it up in the endzone for NSA’s final score of the season.
Over at Western Branch, Nansemond River came out on the down side of fate in its final game, falling 49-14. Justin Topping scored one touchdown and threw another to Darryl Freeney.
Lakeland fell 70-3 to Deep Creek. The Cavaliers will end their season at home against King’s Fork next Friday.