NR comes up short against Bruins
Published 12:27 am Saturday, October 10, 2015
A two-point conversion would have made all the difference on Thursday night, but Nansemond River High School’s football team was not able to make the play against visiting Western Branch High School.
After a Warriors turnover led to them being down by eight points in the fourth quarter, they drove back down the field and scored on a five-yard pass from senior quarterback Kiere Landry to senior tight end Demetrius Stitmon with 33 seconds remaining.
But Nansemond River did not make a similar connection on the conversion attempt, and then its onside kick failed, leading to a 28-26 loss.
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“We didn’t make the plays when we needed to make the plays, and we couldn’t stop them when we needed to stop them,” NR coach David Coccoli said.
The Bruins scored a touchdown each quarter thanks largely to a potent run game.
“They had one kid that rushed for 130 yards, they had another kid that rushed for close to 90, so whenever you have two kids rush for a combined 200 yards, you’re usually going to win the game,” Coccoli said.
The running backs he was referring to, juniors Keith Bryant and Brandon Byrd, scored two touchdowns apiece.
Coccoli said Nansemond River and Western Branch were pretty evenly matched teams, but he did not think the Warriors put together two good halves or played consistently good offense.
“We settled for field goals twice when we needed to score touchdowns,” he said. “That was the difference.”
The game started positively enough for Nansemond River as senior Marquis Braimer returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
The Bruins evened things up after a short touchdown run by Bryant.
In the second quarter, Nansemond River sophomore kicker Evan Lomax hit one of his two field goals on the night to give his team the last lead it would have, 10-7.
Byrd reached the end zone on a five-yard run to help give his team a 14-10 halftime advantage. He helped expand it to 21-10 in the third quarter on a 21-yard scoring burst.
The Warriors responded with 9.7 seconds remaining in the quarter via a six-yard touchdown run by senior running back Terrence Lambert.
On the ensuing kickoff, Western Branch fumbled and Nansemond River recovered the ball at about the Bruins 33-yard line.
Despite the great field position, the Warriors had to settle for a field goal, making the score 21-20 with 9:16 to go in the game.
Later, the Warriors offense got another opportunity to take the lead.
“We were driving, we were on their 35, and we threw an interception,” Coccoli said, and it was returned deep into NR territory, setting up an 11-yard scoring run by Bryant.
Landry went 11-for-16 passing for 92 yards on the night.
“I thought Kiere played well,” Coccoli said. “He threw an interception, then he came down the field for 75 yards to almost get the tying score, so that was a good way to bounce back, and hopefully we can carry that into Tuesday.”
Nansemond River (3-2) visits Indian River High School on Tuesday.