Bulldogs look to avenge last year’s loss to Warwick
Published 2:45 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023
Coming off its first undefeated regular season and a convincing 49-7 win over Bethel in the region quarterfinals, the King’s Fork Bulldogs (11-0) look to continue that storied run at home against the Warwick Raiders (10-1) on Friday.
The Raiders doused the Bulldogs’ hopes of a Class 4 state championship in 2022, knocking off the Bulldogs 31-19 in the region finals. Both teams moved up to Class 5 this season due to the VHSL realignment.
If head coach Anthony Joffrion’s squad wants to avenge that loss, they must play disciplined football.
Email newsletter signup
However, that is no small task. Having lost to only Phoebus, the Raiders are having one of their best seasons on both sides of the ball, averaging 43 points per game, and its stingy defense, giving up an average of only two points per game on defense.
The Bulldogs are having a stellar season, putting up 41 points a game and allowing just 14 points a game.
Games aren’t played on paper, something Joffrion knows well, and says a few of the keys to getting past Warwick will be playing their brand of football, being disciplined, and limiting mistakes. Joffrion says mistakes are what helped Warwick walk away with the win last season.
“They played a really good game and capitalized on our mistakes,” Joffrion said.
Playing within the offensive game plan will also be key to a Bulldog victory.
King’s Fork will likely rely on the vision and speed of junior running back Javon Ford, who is averaging just under eight yards per carry, to keep the Raiders’ defense on its heels and open up passing lanes for quarterback D’Andre Artis-Boone, who boasts a QBR of 106.94.
On defense, the Bulldogs need to limit the big play potential of this Raiders team, and that starts with slowing down Warwick’s Messiah Delhomme, who is coming off an impressive performance against Menchville last week, scoring five touchdowns in his six total carries.
While both teams are amid impressive seasons, this time, the game is at home at ‘The Kennel,’ a place fans from Suffolk have flocked to on Friday nights to support this breed of Bulldogs. The fans can also affect the game by bringing an electric energy to the stadium, be loud, and setting the tone early.
“The fans just need to come out and support us like they have all season,” Joffrion said. “With this most likely being our last home game of the season, we need the city of Suffolk to come out and support our young men.”
The winner will advance to face the Nansemond River vs. Maury winner for the region title and a spot in the VHSL state semifinals.