Suffolk teams make playoff push

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (3-5) at Atlantic Shores (7-1)


NSA will be on the road for week nine after a 54-0 dominating homecoming win last weekend. For the last two games of the regular season, NSA will be on the road, where they have yet to get a win. This week, the Saints will try to change that. The Saints have had a competitive week of practice and are looking forward to getting their first road win Friday night.

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“We’ve been real competitive at practice,” Saints coach Mike Biehl said. “We are getting a lot out of players for what we are trying to do. We want to finish the season strong.”

Atlantic Shores is coming off of a 35-7 win against Cumberland High School last Friday. The Seahawks have not scored less than 35 points in a game all season, which means the Saints will have to be disciplined in slowing down the Atlantic Shores offense. In two of their last three games, the Seahawks have allowed 40 and 46 points to be scored on them, respectively. NSA has an opportunity to carry offensive momentum from last week.

“Teams have had success when they have kind of worn them down a bit,” Biehl said. “We have to find a way to utilize some of the things we do well while also limiting their key players.”

Last week the Saints got a huge game out of running back Shaun Faulk, who rushed for 341 yards and five touchdowns. As a group, the team ran for 524 yards. The Saints want to limit mistakes so they can maintain long drives, which keeps their defense fresh and the Seahawks offense on the sideline.

“It is going to take a total team win,” Biehl said. “We are going to have to force turnovers and prevent big plays. It’s going to take all of us. All three sides of the ball.”

“We will have to play as a unit,” the Saints’ Ehron Knight said. “We need to stop them on defense and make sure we are putting points on the board on offense.”

NSA will be at Atlantic Shores at the Sportsplex at 7 p.m. Friday.


King’s Fork High School (3-5) at Oscar Smith (7-1)


The Bulldogs will travel on the road to face an Oscar Smith team with only one loss on the year. Last week, the Bulldogs fell to Nansemond River High School. Playing on the road at Oscar Smith can be a difficult environment for any team, but the Bulldogs feel they will be prepared.

“We are excited about this opportunity,” Bulldogs coach Scottie Littles said. “Our goal is to go out there and sharpen our tools and do what we need to do to get ready for the playoffs.”

Every game, the Bulldogs go in with a winning mindset. They have been competitive in each game that they have played this year. Oscar Smith’s offense is more of a spread-based, and the Bulldogs want to do their best to stay sound in their techniques and just play King’s Fork football.

“We just want to go out there and do our job.” Littles said. “We want to line up and play our game. We have to make sure we match their intensity and match their experience.”

Because of the Tigers’ willingness to spread the ball around through the air, that will give players such as defensive back T.J Hart an opportunity to make plays on the ball. Hart currently holds the school record for interceptions with nine, with two more regular season games to play.

“We have to continue to be disciplined this week,” Hart said. “The most important thing is to finish. We have to make sure we finish.”

Darran Butts is going into Friday’s game 72 rushing yards away from breaking the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Cherrod Joe has 662 receiving yards on the year. The Bulldogs will need contributions from everyone on offense to make sure they get a win.

“We have to play our game and execute,” Littles said. “Playing on the road, we have to make sure we have each other’s back and understand it’s a tall task but not an impossible task.”

King’s Fork will be at Oscar Smith at 7 p.m. Friday.


Nansemond River High School (5-3) vs. Grassfield High School (7-1)


The Warriors will be at home for the second straight week as they take on a Grassfield team that could arguably have the most district momentum going into Friday night’s showdown.

Nansemond River has a little momentum of its own, though, as the team is on a two-game winning streak. It will also be senior night for the Warriors.

Two weeks ago, they went on the road to defeat Great Bridge, and last week they defeated King’s Fork for their homecoming weekend. Grassfield has already defeated two Suffolk teams and will look to try to complete the sweep with a win over Nansemond River.

“As a team, we have to come out and execute like we know we are capable of,” Warriors Ray Goodman said. “Stopping the run and making sure the defensive backs stay disciplined in coverage will be key. If we all just do our part, we can get a win on senior night.”

Last week, the Warriors got a big game out of Anthony Oliphant, who had 150 yards rushing and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs. Goodman added a 60-yard touchdown last week. JeVon Waller added 90 yards.

“We are ready to come out and play,” Warriors senior Dy’Quan McGhee said. “We haven’t practiced as hard as we have this week since August. It’s our senior night. We have to play fast and physical.”

The Warriors will have to stop the run, as Grassfield has the fourth leading rusher in South Hampton Roads in Darius Hagans. Last year, the Warriors won 59-18 in route to ending their regular season with a four-game winning streak. They will look to do the same this year.

Nansemond River will be at home against Grassfield at 7 p.m. Friday.


Lakeland High School (5-3) at Indian River High School (5-3)


The Cavaliers are currently ranked seventh in the most recent VHSL group 3A East rankings. They look to improve upon that as they go on the road to face Indian River. Both teams have the same record and are fighting for playoff positioning.

Last week, the Cavs took a road loss to Grassfield and are looking to regroup and get a road win against the Braves. Damontra Milteer still leads South Hampton Roads in rushing yards with 1,322 to go along with 14 touchdowns.

“Coming off the loss we had last week, we have to come out this week hungry,” the Cavs’ Tyquan Holloman said. “I think we are going to come out and play hard and play our game.”

Indian River is coming off of a 48-13 win over Hickory High School. Offensively the Cavs will need to contain quarterback Keshawn Brown and their all-purpose guy Devon Hunter. The Cavs feel like they are yet to play a full game on all sides of the ball, and they will look to do that Friday.

“Our offense and defense will need to play well together Friday,” Milteer said. “As a whole, we will all need to play well. With being on the road, we focus and try not be distracted by the environment.”

LHS will be at Indian River at 7 p.m. Friday.