NSA rolls to 41-13 win over HR Academy

Published 11:59 pm Friday, October 31, 2008

NEWPORT NEWS – Nansemond-Suffolk scored four touchdowns in the first 14 minutes of action on Friday night and rolled to a 41-13 victory at Hampton Roads Academy.

Whether NSA’s win, which gives the Saints a 5-5 record, is enough to move them from sixth, to fourth and a state playoff spot will be made official early next week. It seemed unlikely heading into Friday night’s game around the state, as games including No. 4 Virginia Episcopal and No. 5 Blue Ridge will also have to be taken into account, the math would work in NSA’s favor even with a win and losses by the two teams NSA needs to leapfrog.

The Saints played like a team with nothing to lose Friday evening against Tidewater Conference foe HRA as the first four Saint possessions stormed down the field and into the end zone against the Navigator defense.

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On the third snap of the night, Isaac Ballou took an end around going around the left end, turned the corner down the sideline and scored on a 43-yard run. By halftime, Ballou would add a receiving touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown, leading NSA to a 34-6 halftime advantage.

HRA’s first drive ended thanks to a sack and forced fumble by Christian Upchurch, then a recovery by Bayard Mason. Initially, Mason ran the return about 25 yards for a touchdown, only for his run to be called back for an NSA penalty.

Nonetheless, the Saints needed two plays to move 22 yards, with a 15-yard scoring run by Will Crenshaw, to make it 14-0.

After forcing a Navigator punt, it was only five more Saint plays to drive 58 yards. A 46-yard run by Kenny Rice set NSA up inside the HRA 5. J.R. Crowder finished the drive with a 1-yard run.

HRA moved into NSA territory on its ensuing possession largely due to a 30-yard play on a fake punt. The drive came to a halt though with an interception by Crenshaw, plus a return, to give NSA the ball at its own 40.

Three plays later, Hunt Odom tossed to Ballou as he sprinted past a Navigator cornerback down the left sideline. The Odom-to-Ballou play was a 38-yard touchdown and NSA led 28-0 with 10:27 left in the half.

The Navigators drove 63 yards in nine plays to score late in the half. Will Banning threw to Bryan Basnight for an 8-yard touchdown reception.

Ballou made it three touchdowns on the ensuing kickoff. Ballou fielded a bouncing kick in the center of the field, sprinted through a Saint wedge, and went 81 yards untouched for the score.

In the second half, HRA made it 34-13 as Banning got his second touchdown pass of the game, this one a 1-yard play to Andrew Maser with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

A fumble recovery by the Navigators, which gave them the ball on the NSA 27 late in the third period, gave the home team a brief thought of a comeback.

NSA sent its first-team defense back on the field. Back-to-back sacks and a turnover on downs finished the last good chance for the Navigators.

A 2-yard run by Kenny Rice finished the night’s scoring midway through the fourth period. Rice finished with 16 carries and 97 yards.

Odom was 3-for-4 passing for 54 yards. With only two carries, Ballou totaled 67 yards. Crowder (6 carries for 57 yards), Ryan May (5 for 32) and Sam Edwards (4 for 20) added to NSA’s running game.