Warriors falter in second half
Published 12:09 am Saturday, September 7, 2013
The Nansemond River High School Warriors bottled up visiting Grassfield High School’s potent playmakers, but then the fourth quarter changed the landscape of the game and the Grizzlies left with a 36-15 victory.
“They just kept doing what they do,” Warriors head coach Tracey Parker said of Grassfield. “They got the ball in their playmakers’ hands, and they made plays for them.”
Seniors Isaiah Harper and Vincent Lowe are the Grizzlies’ key weapons on offense, but in the first half, they were relatively quiet, except for one big play.
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Warriors senior defensive back Tyshaun Anthony cut a Grassfield drive short with an interception in the first quarter, but nothing came of it on offense. Shortly after the Grizzlies got the ball back, Harper ran 70 yards to put the game’s first points on the board.
Momentum seemed to swing in Grassfield’s favor, but they were not able to build on it.
Instead, in the first half of the second quarter, Nansemond River junior quarterback Jermaal Wells connected with senior wide receiver Mel Giddens on a 44-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion suddenly gave the home team an 8-7 lead, which it held going into halftime.
Both teams came out with high energy on the offensive end in the second half. With expert running by senior running back Latrell “Vegas” Sandifer, the Warriors drove down and scored off a two-yard run by Wells, five minutes into the third quarter.
In response, Grassfield’s Lowe took the ball on the first play from scrimmage 80 yards for a score, and Harper provided the 2-point conversion to knot the game 15-15.
With 6:26 to go in the third, there was an injury timeout leading to Sandifer being carried off the field. It turned out to be cramps, something he was plagued with frequently during the game, though he still managed to rack up 131 yards on 15 carries.
Noting that cramps indicate a lack of conditioning, Coach Parker said it should not be as much of a problem moving forward.
“We’re going to be in a little better shape than we were in tonight,” he said.
In the fourth quarter, Lowe really started to go to work, catching a long pass down the middle for a 47-yard touchdown, to make it 22-15.
Later, when the Warriors threatened on the Grizzlies’ 19-yard line, Wells had a pass tipped and Harper returned it about 60 yards. A few plays later Lowe ran it in from five yards out.
Another interception set up Harper for a two-yard run to close out the scoring. Harper ended up with 130 yards on 14 carries, while Lowe registered three catches for 146 yards.
Wells was a change at quarterback from what Parker planned in the pre-season. He went 5-for-11 for 70 yards, with two interceptions. Though there were rough moments, Parker was pleased, saying, “I thought he did an excellent job.”
The coach summed up the game by saying he felt like all games are within his team’s grasp.
“We’ve just go to execute better.”