Saints reassert themselves

Published 12:33 am Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saints defensive coordinator Mike Newhall (in white) confers with the defense during a timeout. Newhall presided over a stifling defensive effort that limited Greenbrier Christian to 73 yards of total offense during NSA’s 57-6 homecoming victory on Friday night.

After a disappointing performance last week, Nansemond-Suffolk reasserted its presence with a thundering 57-6 homecoming night victory over Greenbrier Christian on Friday.

The Saints dominated on offense, defense and special teams. They racked up 503 yards of total offense while limiting the Gators to 73.

“I think we excelled in all three areas, which we needed to do after that debacle last weekend with the kids,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said. “They were out to redeem themselves tonight, and I think they did a great job.”

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The Gators struck first on a touchdown reception by star senior running back Ty Smith midway through the first quarter, but he suffered an injury later in the first half and did not return. The Gators were largely unable to move the ball in his absence.

The Saints were led offensively by a career-best game from sophomore fullback David Gough, who ran 22 times for 283 yards and three touchdowns, which he accumulated in only three quarters of play.

“It was a great night,” he said. “I wish I could have played in the fourth quarter. They took me out because I got to get ready for Trinity next week.”

Gough’s increased carries were a direct result of Johnston’s decision last Monday to reorient the offense.

“We’ve built it around our buck sweep with our halfbacks running to the flank,” Johnston said. “I give Norfolk Academy a lot of credit; they shut it down. And I realized we’re just going to have to run the fullback a little more inside and (Greenbrier Christian) lined up their defense to stop buck sweep, so we just gashed them off tackle.”

Gough scored on runs of 1, 52, and 69 yards and also ran in a two-point conversion.

“I don’t know how to better say it than our offensive line played an outstanding game,” Gough said.

The Saints garnered 476 yards on the ground. Senior running back Ryan McClain ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, junior split end Michael Tyler Lepore had a 26-yard scoring run, and junior running back Jack Russell scored on an 18-yard run.

About midway through the fourth quarter, the coaches decided to rest the regular running backs and put in sophomore offensive guard Camden Sutton. The Saints closed in on the Gators’ goal line and with 5:47 to go in the game, Sutton scored on a four-yard run.

“It was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had,” Sutton said. “I was almost crying tears of joy.”

NSA (5-3, 3-1) hosts Trinity Episcopal next Friday night.