Suffolk rivals square off
Published 11:13 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012
King’s Fork (7-3, 6-3) at Lakeland (7-3, 6-3) – 7:30 p.m.
There is no precedent for this game tonight on at least two counts. This is the Bulldogs’ first time to make the playoffs in school history, and this is the first time Lakeland has ever hosted a playoff game at the AAA level.
“I think this could be a great night for Suffolk football,” Bulldogs head coach Joe Jones said.
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Both teams come off intense match-ups. Fourth-seeded Lakeland came back in an ugly battle with Nansemond River to win 14-9. Fifth-seeded King’s Fork went to the brink against Oscar Smith and that team’s 55-game district win streak, losing 42-35 in double overtime.
“Even if they beat Oscar Smith and we beat Oscar Smith, the game between us and (King’s Fork), man, you can throw the records out the window,” Cavaliers head coach Glenwood Ferebee said. “It’s a backyard neighborhood brawl, and that’s how we’re looking at it. Whatever happens this season doesn’t matter once we play them or once we play Nansemond River, because it’s such a big rivalry.”
“We’re so excited about the opportunity and very grateful for what’s happened with us this year,” Jones said. “These guys have worked very hard for many years to get to this point.”
Jones and his team will look to rebound from their 35-7 loss to Lakeland at home earlier this year.
“They have the same weapons that they had the first time around,” Jones said. “We know they have a lot of different weapons they can use on offense, both throwing the ball and running the ball. And we have to be able to put four quarters together defensively.”
The Cavaliers have been focusing attention on the Bulldogs’ recent double-overtime thriller.
“We watched film on the Oscar Smith game,” Ferebee said. “So, that’s the film that we actually broke down. So, there’s some things that we’ve seen on film, good and bad, that we’re going to try to take advantage of.”
Jones cited the importance of avoiding their previous shortcomings on offense, acknowledging another Lakeland strength in the process.
“We felt the first time we played we had a ton of penalties that were self-inflicted penalties that put us in bad situations, and they’ve got an excellent defense,” he said.
The winner of this game will face the winner of tonight’s game between eighth-seeded Maury and top-seeded Lake Taylor.
Nansemond-Suffolk (7-3, 4-1) at Trinity Episcopal (7-3) – Saturday, 12 p.m.
The Saints enter the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state playoffs tomorrow after Potomoc School fell to Flint Hill and put NSA through to the fourth seed.
Only the top four Division II teams advance to what will be a two-game state playoff. The other two teams involved are Christchurch School and Blue Ridge High School.
Nansemond-Suffolk Aca-demy faced Trinity Episcopal two weeks ago at home and won 22-14, but the Saints were not expecting to see the Titans in the playoff semifinal.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said. “Christchurch got beat by Virginia Episcopal — whom we beat earlier in the year — on Saturday. So we actually were thinking it would be (Christchurch).”
Christchurch suffered a 20-13 loss to Virginia Episcopal, which vaulted Trinity Episcopal to the top seed.
The Titans ended their season last week against Covenant with a winning score that resembled a basketball game — 62-46.
Like the Saints, they run a Wing-T offense, and it gave NSA trouble two weeks ago before a crucial defensive adjustment in the second half helped turn the tide.
Unfortunately, defense is a major concern for NSA right now.
“I don’t think (senior linebacker) Jacob Laine, who is our defensive leader and a team captain, is going to be able to play,” Johnston said. “He hurt his knee Friday night against Hampton Roads Academy.”
“We got to rotate some people around and fill in for him. And of course, you don’t replace somebody as good as Jacob. You just hope that you can get somebody to step up and give us great effort.”
The Saints will look to limit the inside-outside running duo of senior Bryan Black and junior Abraham Ferrell-Logan.
“They’ve got good personnel, they ran blocks well, and we’re in for a tough game,” Johnston said.
The game will begin at noon in Richmond tomorrow.