Saints finish ‘perfect’ season

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Jeff Cooper and Kyle Jett scored two touchdowns apiece and Mychal Cohen returned a fumble 65 yards for another score as Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA) completed its second-straight perfect TCIS season Saturday with a 48-0 rout of visiting Hampton Roads Academy (HRA). Ryan Johnson carried for 106 yards (putting him past the 1,000 yard mark for the second consecutive year) for the Saints (6-3, 4-0), who recorded their first shutout of the season.

Johnson ran for 25 yards and Jett added seven on the opening drive, putting the Saints at the HRA 46 four minutes into the first quarter. On first down, Adam Keeling faded back and hit Hunter Richardson on the left sideline. Richardson outran the Navigator defense for a touchdown, and Matt Tuttle boomed the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Email newsletter signup

The Navigators managed a first down, but NSA got the ball back with five minutes left in the quarter. Keeling hit Cooper with an 11-yard strike, and Johnson carried three times for 15 yards to again reach the Navigator 46. Keeling repeated his earlier process, this time throwing to Peyton Palmer, who snatched the pass in double coverage for another touchdown.

After returning the kickoff to midfield, the HRA offense inched forward, snaring a first down at the NSA 26. Cohen, Charles Persons, Jonathan Ramirez and Jason Rock knocked them back five yards on the first two plays.

On third down, quarterback Asa Jackson faded toward the right sideline. Suddenly, he was met head-on by Persons, who knocked the ball from his hands. Cohen was right there to grab it, and tore back down the sideline for a touchdown. The Naviga-tors wouldn’t come as close again.

Cooper returned a punt 11 yards to the NSA 35 with 5:20 to go, but a false start penalty knocked the Saints back five yards. Cooper then took a pitchout from Keeling, only to throw it right back. Keeling hit Adam Gillette at the HRA 33.

Cooper ran for six yards, then threw a pass of his own, completing a 13-yarder to Richard-son at the 14. Keeling then hit a wide-open Cooper on the right sideline for a 28-0 lead with three minutes to go.

NSA nearly scored again, as Johnson rushed 41 yards to the NSA 46 with 35 seconds left, and Keeling passed to Palmer at the HRA 28. But Tuttle’s 45-yard field goal try fell just short, and the Saints had a settle for a four-touchdown halftime advantage.

They needed just four plays and less than two minutes of possession time to up the lead by 13 in the third quarter. Jett grabbed a punt at the Saint 30 with just over 10 minutes left in the quarter, and weaved his way all the way up the sideline for a touchdown. On first down, Griffin Powell picked off a Jackson pass on first down, and Johnson carried for 24 yards to the HRA 13. Cooper took a delayed handoff from Keeling and shot untouched up the middle for a 41-0 lead.

The remainder of the third quarter passed with no scoring, and Jett returned an HRA punt to the Navigator 41 with 8:33 left. Jack Wright, in for Keeling, threw a six-yard pass to Gillette, and Jett ran by, around, over and through the Navigator defense for a 37-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.

The Saints head to Blue Ridge next Friday, a game that they’ll need to win to reach the Division Two playoffs.