Topping off a River victory

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 10, 2005

Justin Topping threw a touchdown pass to Darryl Freeney and Jamar Jarrell rushed 28 yards for another score as Nansemond River’s offense recovered from a shoddy first half (and an opening day defeat) by defeating host Wilson 21-0 Friday. After four fumbles, an interception and four penalties in the first half, the Warrior offense got things together in time to secure a win. On the other side of the ball, the River defense held Wilson to three first downs and one completion.

Anthony Ward put River on the board just over three minutes into the game when he broke through to block a President punt out of the endzone. Topping threw to Jonathan Simpson and Dominique Kimbrough for 24 yards on the ensuing drive to reach the Wilson 14, but a fumble and sack stopped the Warrior drive.

Jarrell got the team another shot by falling on a Wilson fumble at the 28 on the next play, but the Warriors were knocked back five yards by a penalty. On first down, Chris Boothe bolted up the middle, shook off two defenders, spun past another and carried two more the last five yards into the endzone.

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Topping kept hitting, racking up 34 yards on passes to Simpson and Freeney, but he was intercepted in the endzone. The Warriors quickly regained possession, but an 80-yard touchdown run by Freeney was nullified by a penalty, and the Warriors lost a fumble on the next play

The River defense buckled down, stopping Wilson on the next two drives, both of which began inside the Warrior 15, to end the half up 8-0.

Five minutes into the second half, Topping was trapped in the backfield, but he broke up the middle and slammed into a tackler at the Warrior 22, sending both players to the sidelines. Ironically, the Warriors took control from then on.

Deon Artis filled in for Topping and ran three yards. Topping came back and gunned a 22-yarder to Kimbrough. The Presidents were called for roughing the passer two plays later, moving River to the Wilson 37. Topping hit Freeney for 12 yards, ran 11, and whipped a quick screen pass to Freeney on the left sideline for a five-yard score. Alton Donovan nailed the extra point to increase the lead to 15-0.

Again, the Warrior defense shut Wilson down and got the ball back at the President 35 with a minute to play in the quarter. Jarrell rushed seven yards up the middle, then bolted untouched around the left end all the way to pay dirt to end the quarter and the day’s scoring.

The Warriors play their first Southeastern district game at home next Friday, when they’ll battle local rival Lakeland, which had Friday off. King’s Fork, which also took a break Friday, hosts Hickory.