A successful year for Suffolk football

Published 1:37 am Saturday, December 30, 2017

The schools of Suffolk had a successful football season this year.

The Warriors, Cavaliers, Bulldogs and Saints combined for a 31-18 record. This season also included three teams earning playoff berths and two teams advancing all the way to their respective regional championship game.

The athletes who play for King’s Fork High School, Lakeland High School, Nansemond River High School and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy all believe Suffolk is a city which has long had talent. In years past, the city may not have been as successful as a collective in a single season, but this year is a big step in that direction.

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Even though NSA was the only school not to make the playoffs this season, they did finish with a 6-4 record. Nansemond River advanced all the way to the state semifinals this year, which is been the farthest a Suffolk public school has gone in a season. King’s Fork won the Southeastern District for the first time in its history. Lakeland was the No. 7 seed in its region and knocked off the No. 2 seed, becoming the only No. 7 seed to win a playoff game this season.

The accolades showed that the proof was in the pudding about the talent that Suffolk possesses. More than 20 Suffolk athletes have been recognized on all-conference, all-region or all-state teams. They had the Southeastern District Offensive Player of the Year and the 4A Region Offensive Player of the Year in King’s Fork Darran Butts. Senior Gerard Stringer, of Nansemond River, took home the 5A Defensive Player of the Year Award. NSA placed six of their players on the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state teams. King’s Fork and Lakeland had representatives on the all-state team, and Nansemond River likely will as well.

School history was rewritten this season for Suffolk schools. Robby Tew finished his senior season as the all-time leader in touchdowns for NSA. Not only was the Southeastern District title the first in King’s Fork history but also their No. 1 seed in the 4A regional playoffs was a first in school history. Their win total of 11 was the most in school history. Nansemond River became the first Suffolk public school to reach the state level and also won the most games in school history with nine.

There were many shockers that involved a Suffolk school as well. The most impressive was King’s Fork defeating Oscar Smith High School. The powerhouse reigned over the Southeastern District for nearly 10 years, and King’s Fork ended a 99-game district win streak. The fact the Warriors ran the table in the regional playoffs after switching to a whole new offense left many in shock as well. Lakeland had not been given a chance by any in the playoffs before they knocked off the No. 2 team.

The success of this year for Suffolk may have put more seniors in position to further their education and careers while also putting more spotlight on underclassmen.

All in all, athletes and coaches were excited about what the city was able to accomplish this season in football and are hoping this is the beginning for the city as a whole to keep progressing in the sport.