Warriors dominate Menchville

Published 11:01 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Nansemond River High School senior wide receiver Marquis Braimer pushes for a few more yards against the defense of host Menchville High School on Friday at John B. Todd Stadium.

Nansemond River High School senior wide receiver Marquis Braimer pushes for a few more yards against the defense of host Menchville High School on Friday at John B. Todd Stadium.

By Matthew Hatfield

Special to the News-Herald

To open the 2015 football season, the Nansemond River Warriors traveled to John B. Todd Stadium in Newport News and turned in a dominant performance, quickly erasing an early deficit to overwhelm the Menchville Monarchs 53-7.

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Nansemond River trailed 7-0 midway through the first quarter after a turnover led to a Monarchs touchdown. In fact, the Warriors were down a point when the second period began, but wouldn’t trail much longer.

They closed with 53 unanswered points, getting significant contributions from all three phases – offense, defense and special teams.

“I’m very pleased with our effort,” second-year Nansemond River head coach David Coccoli said. “We came out slow and they got the first seven. But after that, we really picked it up in the second and third quarters.”

Nansemond River’s first touchdown came on a 77-yard dash by senior tailback Terrence Lambert. On their next series, the Warriors converted a fourth-and-9 on a 14-yard gain by sophomore JeVon Waller. Two plays later, Waller finished the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run.

The Warriors went up-tempo from there, getting a 38-yard field goal from kicker Evan Lomax to extend their lead to 11 points. A 38-yard kickoff return by Chris Henderson set up their final touchdown of the opening half, a five-yard pass from Kiere Landry to Jonas Jones.

After misfiring on his first seven passes, Landry completed 10 of his next 12 for 103 yards. Perhaps his finest moment came when he lofted a 48-yard pass over the head of a defender covering Henderson, who ran it in for a touchdown.

“That was his first varsity game as a quarterback,” Coccoli said of Landry. “He played receiver last year. We’re looking for big things from him as we build during the season.”

To begin the second half, Lambert broke off a 59-yard run to set up his own touchdown plunge from two yards out. Lambert was one of 11 different ball carriers for the Warriors, amassing 176 of their 385 rushing yards.

“Being it’s our last time to have a first game together as seniors, we wanted to come out and make sure we had fun together and try to change the history at Nansemond,” Lambert said.

Coccoli gave praise to the offensive line — Thomas Hopple, Jonathan Hope, Seth Repko, Dia Gray and Deondre Lacey — for creating plenty of running room.

“They came off the ball well, and we’ve been conditioning them hard,” he said. “I’m proud of the way they played, and we’ve got to pick it up for next week.”

Nine different players made stops behind the line of scrimmage for the Warriors, who held Menchville to 78 total yards. Senior captain Demetrius Stitmon, who has moved from linebacker to defensive end this season, was in on four tackles for loss.

“Stitmon was all over the place. He really adjusted well to the position change, and we like what he’s doing,” Coccoli said.

In addition, Stitmon recorded three of the team’s seven sacks. He credited his performance to playing assignment football.

“We just had to execute and make sure we were at the right place at the right time,” Stitmon said. “We know we have to keep our intensity up in order to be successful.”

The Warriors’ 53 points marked their highest total since a 59-0 shutout of Oscar Smith in 2002. Ironically, next up is a trip to Oscar Smith, which has won 74 straight against Southeastern District foes during the regular season.

“We’ve just got to play well,” remarked Coccoli. “If we play well, we’ll have a chance.”