Work continues as NR’s season ends

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 1, 2008

Moments after his team’s 49-7 loss to visiting Great Bridge on Friday, Nansemond River football coach Tracey Parker called the Warriors together in an end zone and spoke in animated fashion for nearly 15 minutes.

No doubt there was plenty to say after finishing a tough season with a lopsided, Southeastern District loss. But Parker said afterwards that he wasn’t chastising his players, but rather challenging them to do the required work to turn Nansemond River’s program around.

“We have to make sacrifices over time, because it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Parker, whose on-field Warriors record is 4-16 overall and 2-16 in district play during two seasons after moving over from Bethel High in Hampton. “We’ll be ok. We have a good group of young players.”

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Nansemond River hung tough at the start Friday, rallying to take a 7-6 lead in the first quarter after surrendering a 2-yard touchdown pass from Brad Hudson to Trey Bray. The Warriors’ Jalen Thrower ran for a 4-yard touchdown and the extra point gave the hosts the lead.

The tide began to turn late in the second quarter. Hudson threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Carvin Powell, then hit Logan Heastie for a 2-point conversion and a 14-7 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the half.

The Wildcats then forced Nansemond River to go three-and-out and punt, regaining possession at the Warriors’ 45-yard line with 27 seconds left in the half. Hudson threw to Heastie for 12 yards and then into triple coverage at the goal line, the ball caroming off a defender’s hands and into Heastie’s mitts for a 33-yard touchdown. Aric Speziale added the extra point and Great Bridge led 21-7 at halftime.

Nansemond River ran three plays and punted to open the second half and the Wildcats put together a lengthy drive, scoring on Hudson’s 3-yard touchdown scamper.

The Warriors (1-9, 0-9) ran four plays and punted on their next possession and Great Bridge answered with another long march and score, this time on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hudson to Powell. Speziale added extra points after both trips to the end zone and the Wildcats led 35-7 with two minutes to play in the third quarter.

It was more of the same after that, with Nansemond River running three plays and punting on its next possession and Great Bridge driving down field and scoring again on a 2-yard Hudson-to-Heastie hookup. Three plays later, Warriors quarterback Steve Skinner had a pass intercepted and returned 36 yards for a touchdown by Rudy Raynor. Speziale converted kicks after both those scores to produce the final margin of victory.

Hudson completed 22 of 38 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns while Heastie caught 10 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns and Powell hauled in six passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Great Bridge (6-4, 5-4) finished with a 435 yards of offense and held the Warriors to 90.

“We have to get stronger and mature overall really fast,” Parker said. “Our kids know if they’re not playing another sport during the winter and spring, then they’ll be doing conditioning and weight room work with me. We’ve got a good nucleus of players we hope can help us become a good football team.”