Cavs, Warriors on the road for semifinals

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Warriors and Cavs are on the road for the regional semifinals, while the Bulldogs host for a second straight week.

Nansemond River High School (7-4) at Indian River High School (8-3)

Nansemond River and Indian River will meet for the second time this season. In the first matchup, Indian River came to Suffolk and defeated the Warriors 26-10.

The game didn’t sit well with the Warriors, because they felt if they had executed better they could have won the game. Quarterback Kori Riddick said after that loss in September that they would see Indian River again, and now it is a win or go home situation tonight.

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“We have to be physical and attack them from the start,” Riddick said. “We can’t get too high and too low on anything that happens.”

Justin German hands off to Darran Butts in a prior game. King’s Fork High School will host Smithfield High School at 7 p.m. Friday.
Caroline LaMagna Photo

Last week, Nansemond River defeated Princess Anne 21-6. The Warriors defense was stout in the home win, and they will need to continue that momentum tonight as they go on the road.

Indian River scored 76 points last week in its quarterfinal win behind a 300-plus-yard rushing performance from Nashun Overton. Warriors defensive back Quincy Gregg said the mindset of the team stays the same this week.

“We go into every game fighting for the win,” Gregg said. “The only difference about this game is that it is win or go home, and we are not trying to go home.”

Nansemond River won its first playoff game since 1995 last week and will try to make it two in a row today at Indian River at 7 p.m. The Warriors aren’t satisfied with one playoff win. They want to extend their season for as long as they can.

Lakeland High School (5-6) at York High School (8-4)

Lakeland will be on the road for a second consecutive week to take on a fourth-seeded York team. The Cavs are riding high off a 10-7 overtime win over the No. 2 seed in the 3A Region, I.C. Norcom High School. The win came as a surprise to all but Lakeland, who felt that their record didn’t show how good of a team they were.

Being the smallest classification in the Southeastern District, the Cavs played schools that were bigger than them. Their first time playing a Class 3 school was in the playoffs, and Lakeland showed they are a tough matchup for anyone who draws their number for the rest of the playoffs.

York actually has a 4-3 record on their home field and has given up an average of 37 points in those three losses. Last week, they defeated Park View High School 40-8.

“Everybody has to do their job,” Lakeland coach Kevin Knight said. “We have to be very disciplined, and we have to win and execute on first downs.”

Lakeland had a goal to return to the regional championship game, and they know they are one game away from it. Knight believes his team is dialed in so that they will try to achieve their goal on Friday.

“By no means are we overlooking York, so we will definitely be ready to play,” he said. “I think guys are loose and focused. I feel really good about what we have done to prepare for this week.”

Lakeland has speed that they will continue to use to their advantage throughout the playoffs. The game will be played at Bailey Field, which is artificial turf. Knight believes that will work to the Cavs’ advantage.

Lakeland will be at York at 7 p.m.

King’s Fork High School (10-1) vs. Smithfield High School (9-2)

The Bulldogs showed they were the better team last week against Jamestown High School. They scored 70 points in rolling past Jamestown, which set them up with a matchup against Smithfield on Friday.

Smithfield is coming off of a 15-8 win over Lake Taylor High School, and Bulldogs coach Scottie Littles knows they will be battling a good Smithfield team at home tonight.

Since losing their first two games of the season, Smithfield has been on a nine-game winning streak.

“Smithfield is a good team,” Littles said. “They are rolling right now. They are well coached with some good talent on the team. We understand the challenge in front of us, and we are ready.”

Littles stresses approaching each game from a 1-0 perspective. The Bulldogs just want to go 1-0 each week. With all the Bulldogs have accomplished this season, it could have been easy for them to settle. But each week, the Bulldogs have left the previous win in the past in order to focus on the next opponent.

“The kids have done a good job compartmentalizing their emotions and focusing on the next task at hand,” Littles said. “Our team has done a good job taking our new tasks to heart and handling business.”

King’s Fork’s offense has been explosive the last few weeks but the defense has been equally impressive. Up front, the Bulldogs are led by Jayree Hardy, Treyshaun Mitchell, Dennis Whitehead and Sam Dunn. Littles believe they will be ready for the task to contain an athletic Smithfield quarterback in Willie Drew, who has committed to play football at James Madison University.

Even though the Bulldogs scored 70 points last week, they still feel like they can play better. Littles mentioned the “what’s next?” approach with his team.

“We are always looking for ways to get better,” Littles said. “Yeah, we scored 70 points, but what’s next? We are always trying to get better each week.”

King’s Fork will host Smithfield at 7 p.m. Friday.