River overcomes mistakes to win big

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

Nansemond River didn’t get everything right in their battle with crosstown rival Lakeland Friday night – just more than enough to win.

Despite coughing up six fumbles and committing seven penalties, one of which negated a touchdown, the Warriors defeated their city-mates for the fourth consecutive year, 30-6. Justin Topping threw for 109 yards and ran for two touchdowns and Chris Boothe carried for 139 yards and a touchdown in the win.

The Warriors started off quickly, as Boothe ran 30 yards over the first drive. Topping threw his first two passes of the game to Darryl Freeney, but the drive stalled at the Lakeland 20, and Alton Donovan boomed a 37-yard field goal.


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Marquis Cuffee ran 19 yards to the River 40, but Cameron Evans fell on a Cavalier fumble at the 38, and Boothe scurried 25 yards to the Lakeland 37. A false start penalty knocked the Warrioes back five yards, but Topping hit Freeney for 15 and Boothe charged 11 to reach the 16. Freeney took a pitchout from Topping and bolted untouched around the left side for a 10-0 lead.

Cuffee got rolling on the next drive, carrying on five straight plays for 28 yards to reach the River 22. Dontae Myrick hit Jeffrey Cook at the goal line, but a false start penalty knocked the Cavaliers back five yards.

No matter; on first down, Cuffee hauled up the middle, bounced off a tackler, and toppled over the goal line for his team’s first score of the season. The conversion failed, leaving the score at 10-6.

Lakeland nearly stole all the momentum, as Freeney fumbled the ensuing kickoff and inadvertently kicked the ball to Rick Gregory. But two false start penalties knocked the Cavaliers back 10 yards, forcing a punt.

Deon Artis carried nine yards to the Warrior 25, and a personal foul penalty got River to its 39. A false start knocked them back five, but Howard Porter rumbled 16 yards to midfield, and Boothe rolled to the Lakeland 26.

A holding penalty knocked River back 10 yards, but Howard Porter got them back with a pair of rushes, and Topping hit Jonathan Simpson over the middle at the 13.

Porter and Anthony Ward got 11 yards in two plays. On third down, Topping faked a handoff to Boothe and rushed around the right end for a touchdown to end the half up 17-6.

It was the Warriors’ turn to miss out on a big break to start the second, as Boothe recovered a Lakeland fumble and motored to the Cavalier 10 over the next two plays. But Porter fumbled and Myrick scooped it up at the six.

The River defense held, and Evans returned a punt 27 yards back to the eight. Topping was sacked for a three-yard loss, but got up and whipped an pass to Freeney at the goal line, and Boothe smashed through the Lakeland line for a touchdown.

The Cavs were again held without a first down, and Topping threw for 22 yards to Evans and Simpson. Boothe charged 21 yards to the Cavaliers 23, but a holding penalty pushed River back to the 33, and a clipping penalty took back a 33-yard touchdown pass from Topping to Freeney. Donovan missed a field goal, and Lakeland got the ball back.

Artis hit a streaking Cook up the left sideline for 33 yards to reach the River 40, then gave him two more passes for 19 yards. But the River defense pushed Lakeland back five yards, and a Myrick pass flew just over Cook’s hands on fourth down.

River was forced to punt for the first time on the next drive, but Mark Jackson got the ball back by picking off a Myrick pass at the River 44. Porter gained seven yards, and Topping ran around the right side for 25 more. Boothe gained 18 yards on the next three plays, and Topping made it around the right side again for the Warriors’ final score.

Both teams stay home next week, as Lakeland hosts Oscar Smith and River faces Deep Creek.