Warriors fail to tame Wildcats
Published 12:43 am Saturday, September 20, 2014
The home crowd for Nansemond River High School’s football team got about all the excitement it could hope from the 2014 home opener — except the right ending.
A back-and-forth contest between the Warriors and Great Bridge High School concluded with a 35-31 win for the visitors.
“They made plays down the stretch, and we didn’t,” NR coach David Coccoli said. “That sums the story up.”
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The offenses of both teams were churning out points early on. Junior running back Terrence Lambert scored the Warriors’ first points on a one-yard run in the first quarter, and freshman kicker Evan Lomax later scored with a 25-yard field goal.
Great Bridge scored all touchdowns, however, and gained the biggest lead of the game with 4:28 left in the second quarter when a five-yard touchdown run put the Wildcats up 21-10.
On the ensuing drive, the Warriors needed only one play from scrimmage to respond, as senior quarterback DeShon Saunders connected with senior wide receiver Keion Roberts for a 68-yard touchdown pass.
Nansemond River got the ball to start the second half and mounted a 70-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard scoring run up the middle from Lambert to give the Warriors a 24-21 lead.
Next, each team had drives fail, but then the Wildcats got their offense going with a combination of runs and passes, and a critical facemask penalty on Nansemond River gave Great Bridge a first and 10 on the Warriors’ 22-yard line. Great Bridge later scored on an 11-yard run to regain the lead, 28-24.
NR junior Chris Henderson, who had a big night offensively, returned the ensuring kickoff to the Wildcats’ 25-yard line. Two plays later, Lambert scored from 21 yards out to give the Warriors a 31-28 advantage with 8:53 left in the game.
But Great Bridge proceeded to march down the field in response, producing a 79-yard scoring driving to take back the lead with 3:53 remaining.
“Defensively, we didn’t make the stop when we needed to,” Coccoli said. “We need to go back to the drawing board on defense and get it corrected.”
The Warriors made progress on their final drive. Saunders had a pass tipped that senior wide receiver Antonio Sims still managed to come up with to keep the drive alive, but ultimately Nansemond River turned the ball over on downs, effectively ending the game.
Lambert finished with 17 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns. Saunders was 11-for-16 passing the ball, for 200 yards and a score. He also gained 49 yards on 13 carries.
Henderson had six catches for 105 yards, while Roberts had two catches for 73 yards and a score.
Nansemond River (2-1) hosts Indian River High School next Friday night.