Published 11:21 pm Friday, October 21, 2011
Nansemond River and Western Branch traded what looked like last-gasp rallies Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
But the Warriors made the final incredible play when quarterback Darwin Barbee and receiver Shannon Evans connected for an 82-yard touchdown pass with 0:29 left in the game, turning a one-point Bruin lead into a 35-30 NR lead. With a two-point run and holding the Bruins for a couple plays, which was difficult in the fourth quarter, the Warriors prevailed 37-30 in a game they had to have to keep their postseason goals going.
The heave by Barbee then catch and run by Evans was the fourth touchdown, two by each side, in the final 4:41 of play.
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The Warriors built a 14-0 lead by early in the second quarter. Western Branch answered to gain a 15-14 edge midway through the third period.
LaMont Brown’s second touchdown run of the game came on the first snap of the fourth period for a 21-15 Warrior lead. It was just the start of a wild 12 minutes.
The Bruins marched with the ball for the next seven minutes. The Warrior defense came within a play or two of holding the Bruins on multiple occasions.
The Bruins converted a 3rd-and-8 with a 17-yard screen pass down to the Warrior 11 for the second 3rd-and-long conversion of the possession along with making a 4th-and-2 near midfield.
The Bruins scored a touchdown for a 22-21 lead with 4:41 showing.
With time to keep going to their powerful ground game, namely Brown, the Warriors moved to midfield. On a 3rd-and-5 play, Brown burst straight through the left side of the line and went 49 yards for a touchdown.
Barbee passed to Justin Anderson for the two-point conversion and a 29-22 Warrior lead with 2:41 left.
By the Warrior sideline’s reaction and the cheer from the home homecoming crowd on Brown’s long run, everyone thought the Warriors had clinched the victory there.
The Bruins answered in a hurry and regained the lead with a 19-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-2. Instead of kicking for the tie, the Bruins ran in the two-point play for a 30-29 lead with 1:16 on the clock.
The Warriors still turned to Brown despite the score and the time left. On the first snap, Brown was stopped at the line. A Warrior false start put NR on its own 18 and the clock running down under a minute to play.
Barbee, having thrown only five passes on the night, dropped back and had time to launch the ball as far as he could throw it down the right side of the field.
Evans caught the ball running by two Bruin defenders and was alone sprinting the last 40 yards of the game-saving touchdown.
“We’ve practiced it before, but really, it just happened out there for us,” Barbee said.
Brown scampered through the middle of the line on the final two-point play for NR’s seven-point margin.
“We said, we’ve got to focus and we’ve got to score. We just had to keep our heads in it,” he said about the Warrior sideline once the Bruins suddenly took the 30-29 lead.
“I started thinking about my dad, too,” Barbee said. “He taught me everything.”
Barbee’s dad is deployed overseas in the U.S. Navy.
Barbee was 3-for-6 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Barbee and Evans connected for a 25-yard touchdown pass to finish NR’s first drive of the game.
Brown carried 28 times for 193 yards. The senior tailback led the Warriors from the start. Brown carried 11 times in NR’s first two drives and scored NR’s second touchdown with a 9-yard run, finishing a 70-yard drive and making it 14-0 early in the second period. Kameron Burnor made the point-after kicks on NR’s first three touchdowns.
The victory comes for the Warriors after a 12-10 loss to Indian River, with the Braves going ahead in the fourth quarter, and a 29-22 loss to Great Bridge, with the Wildcats scoring eight points with just under two minutes to play.
Nansemond River (4-4, 3-4) travels to face Hickory next Friday night.