NSA earns All-VISAA honors
Published 11:04 pm Saturday, January 4, 2014
The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy football team had a strong presence on the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state teams this year.
Four Saints were named to the first team, filling six spots, as two of them were honored for both offense and defense. Two players were named to the second team.
“I was pleased,” NSA head coach Lew Johnston said. “Again, I think we’ve reached the point that we’re recognized throughout the state as being a quality football program with quality players.”
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Junior David Gough was honored two years in a row, landing on the all-state first team as a running back and defensive tackle.
Defensively, he had 24 total tackles, 12 solo, nine for a loss, eight sacks and nine quarterback hurries.
Johnston cited the high praise of Gough from an opposing head coach who had played defensive tackle and seen many play the position. “That kid has the fastest first step of any high school lineman I’ve ever seen,” he told Johnston.
Even so, Johnston said, “His future is at running back,” where he already has interest from Harvard University, Cornell University, Bucknell University and the College of William & Mary.
Though hampered late in the year by back problems, Gough averaged 9.14 yards per carry, running for 1,215 yards, 23 touchdowns and 14 two-point conversions.
Senior John Mobley made the first team at tight end and defensive end.
“I was very pleased with the defensive side,” Johnston said. “Again, his recognition and notoriety comes at tight end — once again the best in the state for two years running now.”
In addition to blocking, Mobley caught 20 passes for 306 yards and five touchdowns.
Mobley is being recruited at tight end by Hampton University and Gannon University in Erie, Pa., while Virginia Military Institute and Furman University in Greenville, S.C., have expressed interest, as well.
On defense, he had 40 tackles, 22 solo, 15 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Senior Michael Tyler Lepore was named to the all-state first team as a defensive back and made the second team as a wide receiver.
“He had a great year on both sides of the ball,” Johnston said.
On offense, Lepore led the Saints with 25 receptions for 403 yards and also caught three touchdowns. Defensively, he had two interceptions, 21 pass break-ups and 24 total tackles, 12 solo.
Sophomore Cole Christiansen made the all-state first team at linebacker with 79 total tackles, 43 solo, 12 for a loss, seven pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
“He was a unanimous pick All-TCIS and same thing — as soon as his name came up in the state meeting,” Johnston said. “They didn’t care that he was just a sophomore. They said he was one of the best linebackers in the state.”
Senior Jared Morse made the all-state second team at defensive back.
Because of his size and speed, Morse was moved closer to the line of scrimmage this year, where his presence made a difference, but it was not a location where he could pile up as many statistics.
He still had 40 total tackles, 21 solo, four for a loss, and seven pass break-ups.
Morse has committed to play for Bucknell University.