By the time you read this on Saturday, the Nansemond River High School football team will likely be on a bus, headed for Highland Springs High School, where they will face the Springers in the semifinal round of the Virginia High School League Class 5 State Championship tournament.
The Warriors are the last Suffolk team left in contention for a state-championship berth, and they face tough competition on Saturday. Highland Springs has won the crown for the past two seasons, and the team has beaten its playoff opponents by an average score of 25-9 this year.
The Springers have a tough offense on the ground and in the air. Last week’s leading rusher had a 100-yard game, and the quarterback threw for a total of 354 yards in the air.
But Nansemond River figures to be a tough competitor, too. The Warriors have beaten the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the 5A region to advance to this level. Last week’s overtime win against No. 2 Salem High School was a squeaker, but it was enough to advance the Warriors to rarefied territory.
A change in the Nansemond River offensive plan late in the season helped the Warriors crank out the wins that brought them to this level, but it will take more than sleight of hand for them to seal the deal on Saturday and advance to the championship game.
For high school football teams, December is the month they most want to play. Cooler weather makes for excellent football conditions, and simply playing in December means they are competing for the highest of stakes.
We wish the Warriors much success on Saturday, and we join the rest of Suffolk in cheering for a victory on Saturday.