Bulldogs, Cavs clash

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

As Suffolk schools get prepared for another week on the gridiron, some interesting matchups will be on tap for Friday night, including the Bulldogs and the Cavs battling it out.

King’s Fork High School (1-1) at Lakeland High School (0-2)

The first all-Suffolk matchup of the season comes between King’s Fork and Lakeland Friday night. This matchup will have a different twist to it than it has the past few years. King’s Fork Coach Kermit Buggs and Lakeland Coach Joe Jones are both heading into their first Suffolk cross-town rivalry game as first-year head coaches of their respective programs.

Even though the way the teams play may be different, most of the faces on the field will be familiar. Last year, the Bulldogs took what some thought was a shocking loss to Lakeland last year in a 6-0 shutout. The players on the field know about this rivalry all too well, even if it is their coaches’ first meeting.

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King’s Fork is coming off a loss to Indian River High School, where the team competed hard defensively but couldn’t get much going offensively. The Cavs are coming off a blowout loss to Oscar Smith High School that they’d like to forget, so both teams will be eager to get back in the win column Friday night.

Buggs knows this week is going to be important for the Bulldogs to focus on the task at hand.

“First and foremost, our goal of this season is to win the city of Suffolk, and this is the first game of that,” Buggs said. “We want to make sure we are going out there and doing what we need to do to get a win over a tough rival.”

Jones told his team after last week’s loss to Oscar Smith that win or lose, he was on to the next opponent. Because the game ended in a 76-0 loss, Jones feels the team is excited to get back on the field to try to redeem itself.

“We know we didn’t perform nearly as well as we could have last week,” Jones said. “Now with this opponent in front of us we have a chance to bounce back. All these kids on both teams grew up together, so they know each other. We been attacking the week making sure we are crossing every T and dotting every I.”

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

Nansemond River High School (2-0) at Indian River High School (1-1)

This game has the makings of being the most exciting matchup in South Hampton Roads Friday night. The Warriors and Braves have built up a little rivalry of their own the past couple of seasons. The teams met twice during the 2017 season, with the Warriors defeating the Braves on their way to the Class 5 Region A title. In 2018, the teams met twice with the Braves coming out on top in both games.

Both teams are being talked about as potential contenders for the Southeastern District title this season, and Coach Justin Conyers believes the team will be up for the challenge this Friday on the road. The Braves are the reigning district champions.

“They are still the champions until somebody knocks them off,” Conyers said. “This game will be big for playoff implications in the region, so we have to make sure we are ready to roll.”

X’zavion Evans has posted back-to-back 150-plus-yard games for the Warriors, and freshman quarterback Nolan James continues to be more confident in the offense. Brent Stratton and Mar’keese Greene will have to continue make plays for the Warriors to come out on top.

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

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (0-4) vs. Portsmouth Christian School (3-1)

The Saints will be back home for a second straight week when they host Portsmouth Christian Friday night. NSA is coming off a disappointing overtime loss to Isle of Wight Academy last weekend. The past three games for the Saints have been lost by a combined 15 points.

Coach Mike Biehl has complimented his team on continuously giving strong effort through this unexpectedly tough start to the season. First-time players are stepping up and settling into their roles, which could be good for the Saints who have been on the verge of a win the past three weeks.

NSA will host Portsmouth Christian at 7 p.m. Friday.