Nansemond River overcomes second half surge to defeat Granby in the Class 5 Region B quarterfinals

Published 1:20 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

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The Granby Comets gave the Nansemond River Warriors its best shot Friday, but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors survived in a wild 35-20 quarterfinal matchup. The Warriors advance to the Class 5 Region B semifinals to take on Maury next week.

Nansemond opened the scoring with a Nick Grier 49-yard punt return touchdown with 8:59 left in the first quarter.

Both teams traded possessions and procedure penalties and could not put points on the board until Alkendric Overton dropped a 45-yard dime to Calvin Holloway to put the Warriors up 14-0 into the halftime break.

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Granby came out after the break, leveling the score at 14 midway through the third quarter on a Dreyvon Tharrington touchdown run and a Christian Post 41-yard touchdown pass.

A blocked punt by Granby led to another touchdown. The Warriors answered with another 23-yard pitch and catch from Overton to Holloway, putting Nansemond up 21-20.

With 2:18 left in the game, Granby lined up for a 36-yard field goal that was blocked and returned for a touchdown, giving the Warriors lead 28-20.

 The Comets decided to attempt a two-point conversion after yet another Warrior procedure penalty, but the Warriors stuffed the Comets’s version of the Philadelphia Eagles’ famed ‘Brotherly Shove’ play, bringing the score to 28-20.

That stop proved pivotal, and the Warrior defense locked in. With Granby driving late in the final quarter inside the Warriors 30-yard line, TaiVon Douglas hauled in an interception at the 23-yard line. 

Head coach Alonzo Ricks said late in the game, he told his defense to get back to playing assignment football, and they responded.

“Those guys just worked hard,” Ricks said. “They’ve been preparing hard for this moment. [We told them] don’t worry about the scoreboard and the mishaps, and the guys responded. I’m really proud of these young men for what they endured tonight.

With time winding down under five minutes, the Warriors needed to burn time off the clock, but a stalled drive forced another punt. Granby inexplicably let the ball hit the turf and took a hard bounce, hitting a Comet player. Nansemond recovered and scored on another Grier run, sealing the win and a date with the top-seeded Maury Commodores in Norfolk.

After the game, Ricks talked about his team’s ability to battle adversity.

“Those young men know how to fight,” Ricks said. “They know how to bounce back and be resilient. We took their best shot. We took their best punches the whole game. But like a prize fight, we did not waiver and went 12 rounds. We stood toe to toe with a great team and an awesome program.”