NSA’s Gough sets standards

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nansemond-Suffolk sophomore fullback David Gough ran 22 times for 283 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters on homecoming night last Friday against visiting Greenbrier Christian. He received an unprecedented tally of 1,012 votes to become the Player of the Week.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy sophomore fullback David Gough accumulated 283 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries in only three quarters before a large homecoming crowd in last Friday’s home victory over Greenbrier Christian. Then, he received a record-shattering 1,012 votes to become the Suffolk News-Herald’s Player of the Week.

Gough has been a Virginian for only five years, and a fullback for much less than that, but his football experience is already extensive.

“I moved from Kansas to Virginia when I was in fifth grade, but I started football in second grade in Kansas, so I’ve been playing for quite a while,” he said. “I played line all through my childhood.”

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He played in Pop Warner every year from second grade through seventh, when he began playing junior-junior varsity and junior varsity for NSA.

Two years later, current Saints’ head coach Lew Johnston took the job and explained how he discovered Gough.

“I asked for all of the game films from the year before so I could start looking at the kids, and I see this one kid playing defensive tackle who’s just shooting through there and making plays,” he said. “And I look at the roster that (NSA Athletic Director Betty Jean) Riddick gave me and I’m going, ‘This is a typo.’ So, I called her. She said, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s an eighth grader.’”

“He was starting on the varsity at defensive tackle as an eighth grader and playing extremely well. So, right there, I knew we had an athlete on our hands.”

Johnston moved Gough to offensive guard as a freshman, but this year, he has been able to establish himself in the fullback position on offense. Ordinarily he does not see many carries, since the Saints’ offense relies on the “buck sweep,” which involves runs to the flank by the running backs.

“I just decided after what Norfolk Academy did in shutting down our buck sweep, it’s time to make a change in terms of our emphasis, so we designed the offense (last) Friday to the fullback design,” Johnston said. “And I was proud of him.”

Gough also plays lacrosse, but he figures football is probably his favorite sport.

“I love Friday nights, and it’s just very exciting for me,” he said. “I love everything about the games.”

When he takes the field, Gough is motivated by the man who helped put together a small football team that he first played on in second grade.

“My dad (is) probably my biggest motivator,” Gough said. “He’s loved watching me play football. He’s very into it. He watches film with me after the games. We watch it together.”

“Well, obviously, he’s my world right there,” his father, Jeff Gough said, with David on the field before the game against Trinity Episcopal on Friday.

Jeff and his wife Nancy marshaled votes in the Player of the Week contest from co-workers and extended family in Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.

David Gough is not sure whether college football is in his future, but he is certainly game for it.

“Yeah, I’d love to play at the next level,” he said. “I know I’m going to go to college, and if they want me to play for them, I would love to.”

When it comes to football in 2012, his contributions are helping lead to an ambitious goal.

“A state championship — I would like nothing better than that,” he said.

With NSA’s win over top-ranked Trinity on Friday, that goal suddenly seems attainable.

This week’s nominations

Following are this week’s Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week nominees:

  • Charles Clark, senior slotback/defensive back for King’s Fork’s football team — He touched the ball only six times during the game on Friday, but he scored every time. In tying the school record for touchdowns in a game, he had four carries for 42 yards, a 65-yard interception for a touchdown, and an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
  • Zach Super, senior quarterback for Lakeland — He went 21-for-36 for a season-high 383 yards and four touchdowns to three different receivers.
  • Tim Burns, senior quarterback for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy — He forced the Trinity Episcopal defense to worry about more than just the Saints’ run-heavy attack in a pivotal showdown with post-season implications, going eight for 12 passing for 92 yards.
  • Michael Tyler Lepore, junior split end for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy — He had crucial, drive-sustaining receptions to help the Saints defeat state rival Trinity Episcopal. He had five catches for 57 yards and also scored on a short run in the first quarter.

Vote by 7 p.m. Wednesday by sending an email with the subject “Player of the Week” to sports@suffolknewsherald.com. You can also vote on our Facebook page and on the Suffolk News-Herald homepage.

Next Sunday, we’ll feature the readers’ choice in a story on the sports page. Spread the word.