An unbroken legacy

Published 5:14 pm Saturday, September 5, 2015

NRHS’ Stitmon follows his father’s footsteps

Had he been in his usual spot in the stands on Aug. 28, the late Demetrius Stitmon Sr. would have had plenty of reason to cheer during his son’s performance in Nansemond River High School’s season opener.



Demetrius Stitmon Jr. helped the Warriors reel off 53 unanswered points against Menchville High School by being a key contributor in the shutdown of the Monarchs’ offense.

Playing at a new position — defensive end — he recorded seven tackles, four for a loss, and three sacks in Nansemond River’s 53-7 victory.

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Stitmon’s play led to his becoming the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

“I felt I did good,” he said. “I felt I have some things to learn.”

He had established himself at outside linebacker during his sophomore and junior seasons with the Warriors, but when they needed more productivity at defensive end this year, they turned to Stitmon, a primary senior leader.

“He had a great game,” Nansemond River coach David Coccoli said. “He’s adapted well.”

Warriors coaches knew Stitmon wanted to play linebacker, but when he was told he was needed on the line, he replied, “OK, what do I need to do to get it done?”

He was taught proper technique, how to position himself, and then he started looking at videos of other players and working in the backyard, practicing incessantly.

“That’s all I’m doing now is perfecting my craft,” he said. “I feel like I’m starting to get good at it.”

Stitmon got exposure to football early in life because of his father, who used to play for the Tidewater Sharks, a semipro team.

“I used to always go out to his games, watch them practice,” the younger Stitmon said. “When they’d be out there running sprints, I’d be right on the track along with them, running sprints and just trying to have fun.”

Demetrius Stitmon Jr. got his first chance to play organized football when he was 7 with the Suffolk Titans, but it wasn’t quite what he was looking for.

“I wanted to play tackle,” he said. Recalling games he had watched, “you hear a big collision, you hear the ooh’s and ah’s and I was like, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to hit.’ But because I was 7 and I wasn’t old enough, I had to play flag (football).”

Soon he was old enough to play tackle football, and his fast physical growth in the years that followed meant he had to move up to higher levels of Pop Warner.

“So I was playing Midget at 12 years old at 165, 170 pounds and that weight just stuck with me from then, and that’s why I’ve gotten used to hitting bigger people,” he said. “To me, I feel like it’s easier on me, because I’ve played with the bigger people ever since I’ve been younger. I’m just perfecting everything now.”

After about five years with the Titans, he spent a year with the Bennett’s Creek Warriors before playing on Nansemond River’s junior varsity squad.

His father passed away from colon cancer in January 2014 but never stopped being a consistent supporter of his son.

He was at “all my practices, all my games, even when he was sick and had to do radiation and stuff like that,” his son said. “Going into my 11th grade year, just that transition from just looking up in the stands and not seeing him anymore, it just lets me know that I just need to go out and ball for him and just do everything that I can to make sure I can be successful.”

Stitmon plans to play NCAA Division I football and has heavy interest from the Virginia Military Institute, James Madison University, the University of Richmond, Coastal Carolina University and Norfolk State University.