Durham beats Saints in peewee playoffs

Published 9:01 pm Monday, November 17, 2008

In a matchup of two undefeated teams on Saturday in the first round of the regional playoffs for the Pop Warner peewee division, something had to give for either Nansemond Suffolk or visiting Durham.

Durham’s defense clamped down on the Saints in the second half and that proved to be the difference as the Durham War Eagles pounded out a 13-6 victory over the Nansemond Suffolk Saints.

The Saints came into the first-round playoff contest with an 8-0 regular season record and the Saints looked like an undefeated team in the early stages of Saturday’s game.

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The Saints received the opening kickoff, but Deonte Demiel fumbled on the return and Durham recovered. Despite the unfortunate start, the Saints held Durham on downs on the ensuing possession, then again the next time the War Eagles got the ball even though the War Eagles took over at the Saint 37.

Taking over on the Saint 19, the Saints got one first down, then Demiel redeemed himself in a major way. Getting a pitch going around the right side, Demiel cut back against the grain of most of the War Eagle defense and streaked down the middle of the field for a 65-yard touchdown run, giving the Saints a 6-0 lead with 8:03 left in the first half.

The War Eagles answered a few minutes later with a 30-yard touchdown run, plus a 1-point conversion (in Pop Warner football, kicking an extra point is two points and a traditional “two-point conversion” is good for a point). Durham’s 7-6 lead stood up until halftime.

For the second time of the game, Nansemond Suffolk’s special teams play gave the Saints a boost. After doing the same thing once in the first half, the Saints went with an onsides kick to open the second half and for the second time Michael Lepore dove on the ball to give the Saints possession in good field position.

Durham’s defense held the Saints right away and as the rest of the half played out, Durham held the Saints to no first downs in the second half.

Nansemond Suffolk’s defense turned away one desperate situation early in the fourth quarter as Durham drove to fourth-and-goal at the 1. The Saints stuffed a Durham running play up the middle, the War Eagles fumbled and a pack of Saints recovered the ball in the end zone.

Durham moved the ball back inside the Saint red zone, then converted for a touchdown, making it 13-6 with 2:51 remaining.

Nansemond Suffolk’s last chance with the ball started on the Durham 40 after a good kick return by Noland Knight. The War Eagles held the Saints on four downs however and they were able to run the last 2:03 off the clock.