King’s Fork faces undefeated Grizzlies

Published 10:53 pm Thursday, October 18, 2012

King's Fork senior wide receiver Davon Grayson (3) and senior running back Charles Clark (5) prepare on Thursday for the Bulldogs' pivotal road game tonight against undefeated Grassfield.

King’s Fork (5-2, 4-2) at Grassfield (7-0, 6-0) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Grassfield 35, King’s Fork 19

The Grizzlies return home after a 27-22 spoiling of Lakeland’s homecoming, but now the Bulldogs have a chance to spoil Grassfield’s.

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“I think it’s two well-matched-up teams, and we’re going to be their homecoming game, so that provides a little bit of extra spark for them and for us,” King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones said.

Grassfield stands as the only team in the district still undefeated, but they’ve appeared vulnerable on the road against both Nansemond River and Lakeland.

“Every team’s looking for a signature win, and this could be a signature win for us,” Jones said. “It seems like every year when we play them they’re 7-0, they’re undefeated. They’ve put together a great program quick and they have an excellent football team.”

The Bulldogs enter this fight after a 21-3 road victory against Hickory last Friday. Jones credits recent success to a simplified approach.

“The last couple weeks we’ve said, ‘Hey, we’re just going back to our basics and our fundamentals, our option game,’ and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to come at you hard, offensively and defensively,’” Jones said.

Tonight’s game carries playoff implications.

“As we build the program and getting to the point we’re at here, we want to solidify our spot in the playoffs, and a win this week could definitely do that,” Jones said.

Jones and the Bulldogs also are motivated by the opportunity to set a new precedent against the Grizzlies.

“We haven’t beaten Grassfield in JV or varsity since I’ve been here, so guys are anxious for the challenge,” he said.

Greenbrier Christian (5-2, 1-2) at Nansemond-Suffolk (4-3, 2-1) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Nansemond-Suffolk 44, Greenbrier Christian 0

“We told the kids yesterday this is our first playoff game,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said on Thursday of the game against the Gators. “We’re in a do-or-die situation, so we have to win these last three.”

The Saints enter their homecoming night game with a lot at stake. Winning out will be important for them to have a shot at qualifying for the state playoffs, and a victory against the Gators will be necessary for them to have any shot at the conference championship.

To win, they will have to contain the Gators’ senior running back Ty Smith, who has rushed for 1,030 yards this season to go with 15 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns.

The Gators lost last week 34-29 in a conference game against Bishop Sullivan.

Nansemond River (4-3, 3-3) at Western Branch (5-2, 4-2) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Nansemond River 37, Western Branch 30

Though the Bruins have dropped their last two games by at least 31 points, they are still the same dangerous team that outscored Lakeland and King’s Fork by a combined score of 106-14.

Nansemond River hits the road after a 20-7 homecoming win over Great Bridge. Warriors head coach Tracey Parker Sr. now has his team focused on stopping Western Branch’s Wing-T offense.

“The most difficult thing is getting the kids to play assignment football,” he said. “It’s not so much of running around and finding the football. It’s more of being in a specific place and letting the ball come to you.”

The key for Warriors defenders will be patience.

Lakeland (4-3, 3-3) at Great Bridge (0-7, 0-6) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Lakeland 54, Great Bridge 41

Last year against the Wildcats, Raekwon Johnson accounted for 410 yards and five touchdowns as a quarterback and running back. With senior quarterback Zach Super in place this time, he likely will not have to do as much.

Lakeland head coach Glenwood Ferebee hopes to rebound from the Grassfield loss by defeating what he feels is a well-coached but young Wildcats team. In doing so, the Cavaliers have a specific goal in mind.

“Right now we’re sitting at the fourth seed in the power rankings and if we (win) out the (rest of the) season, that guarantees us a home game, if possible,” Ferebee said. “Last year we slipped up against Nansemond River, missed the chance to play at home, so that’s motivation going into the next three games.”