Saints at Barons in title game

Published 11:56 pm Friday, November 20, 2009

Nansemond-Suffolk (8-3) at Blue Ridge (7-3) – 1 p.m.

Virginia Independent Schools, Div II State Championship

Last meeting – Blue Ridge 26, Nansemond-Suffolk 21 – Oct. 24, 2008

Both the Saints and Barons had their semifinal games on Monday, so neither side gets an advantage in rest or preparation time.

The top-seeded Barons trailed 23-0 to No. 4 Atlantic Shores early in the third quarter before rallying with the aid of an interception return for a touchdown and a fumbled kickoff recovered and returned for a touchdown for a 32-30 victory.

NSA and Portsmouth Christian battled through a scoreless first half. The Saints pulled away in the second half led by Harris Howell’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown and Will Crenshaw’s 75-yard touchdown run.

Blue Ridge is the No. 1 seed because of a combination of speed, size and height.

“We know they (Blue Ridge) like to pass. They have a few very good receivers who are college prospects,” said NSA head coach Kevin Allen.

Four Baron receivers are 6-foot-3 or taller. Cameron Anderson measures 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-4 A.J. Williams made plays as a receiver, had the fumble recovery for a touchdown and made an interception on Monday.

The Barons are big on both lines, setting up a battle that should be an NSA strength versus a Blue Ridge strength. Offensively for the Saints, the offensive line sets up the running game more than passing.

“I honestly think Portsmouth Christian is the best defense we have faced and probably will face. We’re in good position to go up there and compete,” said Allen.

“The one thing we have to do better is play all four quarters, but I’ve been saying that all year,” said Allen. Allen referenced Blue Ridge’s semifinal win as plenty of evidence of what the Barons can do even if they fall behind.

“We can’t say, ‘the game is over’, at any point. With Blue Ridge being a good passing team, the game is never over,” said Allen.