Regular season finale tonight

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

Nansemond River High School (5-4) at Lakeland High School (5-4)

The city of Suffolk could be in for a treat Friday evening, when the Warriors travel to Lakeland as both teams finish out the regular season.

Many things are on the line this game. Not only do both teams want to be the best in Suffolk, but also both teams are seeking better playoff positioning. Each team is coming off of a loss last weekend. The Warriors lost to Grassfield in the final seconds of the game, while the Cavs lost to Indian River on the road.

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In the latest VHSL high school ratings, the Cavs were in the top seven of the 3A East rankings. A win Friday can put them in a position to host a playoff game. For the Cavs seniors, this game is very meaningful, as they will be stepping on their home field for the last time during the regular season.

“I had a talk with our seniors this week, and I’ve been coaching them for a long time,” Cavs coach Kevin Knight said. “I let them guys know how much I appreciate them. These guys have never experienced a win against Nansemond River. That’s something that will be motivating them.”

“This game is big,” Cavs senior Garrett Whitley said. “It’s senior night and the last regular season one for the seniors and I. We’ve had intense practices all week, and we know the scenarios that are presented to us. Nansemond has been our biggest rival dating back to 1990. It’s going to be a fun exciting and intense game with both teams fighting for playoff positioning.”

The Cavs know if they want to get a win Friday, it will start with stopping the run. NRHS gets solid production out of their backfield, led by speedster JeVon Waller. This game will not lack intensity or emotion.

“This game means everything to us,” Cavs senior Damontra Milteer said. “We want to win this game for the city, and we are treating this like a playoff game. We worked hard all week, and getting this win would put us back on track.”

Milteer has 1,411 rushing yards with 14 touchdowns and will be a focus of the Warriors defense.

“That’s one of the keys to this game, stopping their rush,” Warriors coach David Coccoli said. “It’s a rivalry game, and the kids are excited. They’re ready to get after it. Lakeland is a good team.”

Nansemond River won the city title last year, beating both King’s Fork and Lakeland, and they are halfway there to winning it this year after a defeat of King’s Fork two weeks ago. The Warriors want to repeat this year at all costs.

“We have to start the game with the same intensity we usually have in the first half,” Waller said. “We need this win to give us a boost into the playoffs.”

“It’s important we get this win, because that’s our cross-town rival. We want to be the best in the city,” the Warriors’ DyQuan McGhee said. “We have to make sure we drive the ball down the field and execute offensively. The defense is going to do what they always do.”

Last year, the Warriors won 52-7. Nansemond River will be at Lakeland at 7 p.m. Friday.

King’s Fork High School (3-6) vs. Deep Creek High School (3-6)

The Bulldogs are looking to close out the season strong at home against Deep Creek. Both teams have three wins on the year, and the Bulldogs are coming off of a loss against Oscar Smith. It is senior night for the Bulldogs as well, and they want to send the seniors out appropriately.

“We want to send our seniors out the right way,” Bulldogs coach Scottie Littles said. “This is my first year, and we are rebuilding the program. Unfortunately, our seniors are getting shortchanged in the process, because they won’t be able to be here (in future years), because they are seniors. So we want to show them we appreciate their time and their effort they put into King’s Fork.”

All 15 of the Bulldogs seniors will be walking during graduation next year. With a win, the Bulldogs will go into the postseason with some momentum. Quarterback Justin German and defensive back/receiver Chris Shearin will not play Friday, as they are nursing injuries still. Outside linebacker Bryan Walker will not play as well. Senior quarterback John Woods will get his third start. Darran Butts had more than 100 yards against Oscar Smith and now has 1,031 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The Bulldogs are not going to overlook Deep Creek and know that they have to play good, sound football to finish the season with a win.

“They are athletic,” Littles said. “Their quarterback is a big time playmaker for them, and we have to make sure we contain him. They are just an athletic team, and we have to show up.”

King’s Fork will be at home against Deep Creek at 7 p.m. Friday.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (3-6) at Hampton Roads Academy (3-6)

The Saints will close out their season against HRA. Last week, the Saints took a 65-12 loss to Atlantic Shores and are looking to go into the offseason on a good note. Preparation so far has been good for the Saints.

“We’ve probably had our best full week of practice we’ve had in a long time on both sides of the ball,” Saints coach Mike Biehl said. “Our guys have been flying around all week and have been preparing very well. The seniors are respecting the fact that’ll be the last time they put on the uniform, and younger players are as well.”

Neither team in this matchup will make the playoffs this year, but Biehl is confident that won’t distract his team from ending the season with a win and building for the offseason. In order to get the win Friday night, the Saints know it starts with stopping HRA’s quarterback.

“It’s going to be about who wants it more that night and who can execute the best,” Biehl said about the game against HRA. “We have to contain their quarterback and play a full 48 minutes like I know we are capable of.”

NSA will be at HRA at 7 p.m. Friday.