The Saints reigned…

Published 12:02 am Saturday, October 5, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior fullback David Gough cuts through host Portsmouth Christian School's defense on Friday night. Gough accumulated 197 of the Saints' 414 yards on the ground, and scored four of the team's nine touchdowns in a 72-20 rout. (Janine DeMello photo)

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior fullback David Gough cuts through host Portsmouth Christian School’s defense on Friday night. Gough accumulated 197 of the Saints’ 414 yards on the ground, and scored four of the team’s nine touchdowns in a 72-20 rout. (Janine DeMello photo)

…and it poured

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy football team had gotten its season back on track last week with a 47-point blowout win, but that was apparently just an offensive warm-up for Friday night.

One could be excused for thinking 56-12 was the final score of the Saints’ victory over host Portsmouth Christian School, but that was only halftime. In the first 22 plays NSA ran, seven were for touchdowns.

Once the final second ticked off the clock, Nansemond-Suffolk had registered a 72-20 win.

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“We just shredded them,” Saints head coach Lew Johnston said.

NSA piled up 537 yards of total offense and hit the Patriots both in the air and on the ground. The most consistent damage came on the ground.

Sophomore running back Noah Giles got the scoring started with 10-yard touchdown run, and junior fullback David Gough ran in the two-point conversion.

But Portsmouth Christian had responses early as Patriots senior John Pope carried 67 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing possession.

“Our offense said, ‘Well, I guess we need to keep scoring,’” Johnston said.

And they did. The sight of Gough barreling down the field surely became quite old for PCS as he ran for 197 yards, four touchdowns and four two-point conversions on 10 carries.

He was able to get a lot of yards due to his offensive line, but not just because they dutifully provided blocks.

“They come over to me after the first drive and they’re giving play suggestions to me,” Johnston said.

They saw a hole in the Patriots defense, and taking advantage of it required redesigning a set play. The coach listened to his players, and Gough ran 55 yards untouched the first time the change was employed.

“I’ve got to credit our offensive line for understanding the offense and helping me call plays,” Johnston said.

Gough running a defense ragged up the middle can produce a blowout win, but the outside was available, as well. Junior halfback Addison Peak had four carries for 131 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Jake Grady had two carries for 22 yards and a touchdown and Giles ended up with four carries for 45 yards, including the scoring run.

The 414 yards on the ground was impressive, but senior quarterback Jackson DeMello also contributed two touchdown passes in the first quarter, and threw for 112 yards on four completion in four attempts.

Senior tight end John Mobley hauled in the first scoring toss, a 70-yard catch and run, while sophomore split end Morgan Wentz scored his first touchdown of the season on 3-yard grab.

The Saints defense came to play, as well.

“Cole Christiansen was all over the place, and good thing, too, because they gashed us a few times,” Johnston said of Portsmouth Christian.

Patriots senior Darius Thomas scored a second PCS touchdown in the first quarter off a 26-yard run, but then the Nansemond-Suffolk defense clamped down. The only other score it allowed was in the fourth quarter after the game was clearly out of reach and the backups were in.

Christiansen led the Saints with 15 tackles, while junior defensive end Camden Sutton racked up nine.

Johnston said his players were fired up after the game, already looking forward to next week’s contest.

“We didn’t really talk about it, but the kids know what’s in store next week,” Johnston said. “Homecoming and Norfolk Academy’s a big rival, and of course they upset us last year, kind of messed things up down the stretch there.”

But after these last two games, Johnston said, “We feel like we’re where we need to be right now.”

Nansemond-Suffolk (5-1, 1-1) will play host to Norfolk Academy next Friday.