NSA looks to improve rank

Published 11:21 pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

Trinity Episcopal (6-2, 0-0) at Nansemond-Suffolk (5-3, 3-1) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Nansemond-Suffolk 42, Trinity Episcopal 28

Victory is important tonight for the Saints, because the Titans are one of the teams ahead of them in the state rankings. NSA won last year, but 2012 is a different story.

Junior split end/defensive back Michael Tyler Lepore and the NSA Saints will look to improve their state ranking in a pivotal match-up tonight against Trinity Episcopal.

“They are obviously better,” Saints head coach Lew Johnston said. “All you have to do is look at their record, and they were a good football team last year. They’ve got probably four or five transfers in who have made a difference for them.”

Email newsletter signup

The Titans and Saints sharea history this season with Christchurch (6-2), a state contender that edged NSA earlier this season when officials ruled that senior Jacob Laine fell a foot shy on the two-point conversion try. The Titans faced Christchurch last week.

“They beat Christchurch last week at home by three,” Johnston said. “We should have beaten Christchurch at their place by one (but for) the call on the PAT. So, just in terms of looking at common opponents and somebody as good as Christchurch, I think that’s a pretty good indication that (tonight’s) going to be an evenly matched game.”

The Titans’ familiar style of play may also lend drama to the game.

“Interestingly, they run their own version of the Wing-T offense,” Johnston said. “So, I feel like my experience with all the different defenses over the years that have given us problems, we’ve concocted a little bit of a change-up defense that I hope they’re not going to be ready for.”

This will be the first team the Saints have faced this year that uses the same offensive style coach Johnston installed last year at NSA.

“As most people tell you, it’s a dinosaur,” Johnston said of the Wing-T. “I keep hearing from our opponents how everybody hates to play it, because it’s so difficult to defense. There’s something of a mystique involved with it, I guess, that our kids are beginning to appreciate.”

Lakeland (5-3, 4-3) at Indian River (3-5, 3-4) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Lakeland 28, Indian River 14

After a 56-7 thrashing of Deep Creek, the Cavaliers stay on the road to face the Braves, who come off a 12-10 win at Hickory last week.

“They’re a very athletic team,” Lakeland head coach Glenwood Ferebee said of Indian River. “They’re kinda sorta like us, to a certain extent. So we’ve got to come out and play a real good game (Friday) night to come out with a victory. I don’t think it’s going to be a game where they’re going to lay down for us because we’re Lakeland or because of their record.”

The Cavaliers look to win this match-up and the regular season finale against Nansemond River, with the hope of securing a home playoff game.

Hickory (2-6, 1-6) at Nansemond River (4-4, 3-4) – 7 p.m.

Last season: Hickory 34, Nansemond River 25

Looking to recover from a 35-7 road loss to Western Branch, Nansemond River hosts the Hawks, who lost 12-10 last week to Indian River. Warriors head coach Tracey Parker Sr. noted that Hickory does not run a big-play offense, but rather a methodical one.

“They’re big, strong,” he said. “If we come out and do what we do well, we should be okay. The key for us is to play disciplined football.”

Parker said the Warriors still have their eyes on a possible playoff berth.

“Yeah, we’ve got to win — that’s the bottom line,” he said. “Our kids know it, they know it. They know what’s on the line.”

Deep Creek (1-8, 1-6) at King’s Fork (6-2, 5-2) – 7 p.m.

Last season: King’s Fork 48, Deep Creek 21

The Bulldogs return home after going to Grassfield and knocking off the only undefeated team in the district. It could be easy for King’s Fork to look past the Hornets to next week’s showdown with Oscar Smith, but Bulldogs’ head coach Joe Jones is steering his team away from that, giving them a playoff goal to focus on this week.

“I was telling the guys, when we get this to point, every game is the most important of the year,” he said. “And this IS the most important game of the year for us. Now, I think we’ve pretty much locked up a playoff opportunity. Now, we can fight for a home-field game in the playoffs, and the first step in that is taking care of things this week.”