Nansemond River and King’s Fork advance to regional playoffs
Published 4:21 p.m. Tuesday 22 November 2022
By Matthew Hatfield
For the second year running, Nansemond River used some late-game heroics to advance in the Region 5B playoffs against Kecoughtan in a clash of schools nicknamed the Warriors.
After falling 14-7 in the fourth quarter, Nansemond River scored the final two touchdowns of the game in under six minutes to go 21-14 and improve to 8-3 overall. With the win, they earned a spot in the Region 5B Championship.
“I’ve said it all year and that’s these guys are resilient. They answered and answered the call in a win-or-go home with that mentality. We have some guys who can play in moments like this and it showed,” said Nansemond River head coach Alonzo Ricks Jr.
Kecoughtan scored with a quick touchdown on his first possession. Nansemond River responded with a score.
The Warriors – from Suffolk – turned football around deep in Kecoughtan territory. Kecoughtan capitalized and took a 14-7 lead at the break with a touchdown on an oblique pass. From there, the defense unit and special teams took command.
“Our defense did an excellent job and our punter Noah McClee changed field position for us as he has done all season. Then in the fourth quarter we started ramping it up to give me gray hair and high blood pressure,” Ricks joked. “I am grateful that we can continue to move forward.”
Kicker Dallas Slaughter made all three of his extra points. Immanuel Ezeogu and Marquez Warren each had 10 tackles. Ezeogu had three stops behind the line of scrimmage, a forced fumble and a stoppage of the pass. Mike Thomas added seven tackles and Nick Grier contributed five tackles. Lataveon Brandon provided the game-ending interception.
The Warriors were led offensively by dual-threat junior QB Alkendric Overton, who completed six of 11 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown against Nasir Holland. Overton added 37 yards rushing and two points. Melvin Brown rushed 16 times for 68 yards and Terrell ‘Philly’ Douglas was her lead receiver with four catches for 48 yards.
Next up for Nansemond River is a trip to Powhatan Field in Norfolk to face Maury (8-1), who beat Menchville 37-0 in their regional semifinals as the Commodores seek their fifth straight regional title.
“Were excited. Those are things we talk about on a daily basis,” Ricks said. “Having this chance doesn’t come naturally to us considering how many quality teams have already gone home this season. What Maury As far as I’m concerned, they are who they are. This is their fifth or sixth consecutive year that they’ve gone to the regional finals and it’s a program that’s used to spilling over to the national level. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
“We want to be rock solid and win the third and fourth down conversions both offensively and defensively. It comes down to executing whatever is called and making it a game of chess. If we can do the necessary things, maybe we’ll give each other a chance on Friday night.”
King’s Fork meets Warwick for the Region 4A title
The King’s Fork Bulldogs were very happy to have Cameron Butler back in the lineup.
After the senior signal caller returned in overtime for the first time since the regular season finale loss to Nansemond River when he sustained a concussion, King’s Fork cruised against third-placed Warhill in their Region 4A semifinals to dust the Lions 43-8 ab to continue their state title quest in the next round on Thanksgiving weekend.
Butler threw four touchdown passes, two of which went to freshman receiver Keontae Bumpers.
“Cam Butler played really well. He’s the leader of our football team and has been for the past three years,” said Bulldogs coach Anthony Joffrion. “As soon as we got him back, everything fell into place and seemed to go right.
“Warhill orchestrated the wing-T well and then they went on the spread offensive. I actually thought they did well but missed a couple of drives and our defense was reinforced.”
Ayden Lewis has been on the receiving end of most Butler shots, catching six passes for 70 yards. Second jam JaVon Ford also found the end zone twice, including on a 60-yard reception
The next task for King’s Fork comes against top seed Warwick (11-1) in the Region 4A Championship at John B. Todd Stadium in Newport News. Warwick defeated Churchland 21-7 in the regional semifinals and the Raiders are quite tight on defense, limiting opponents to just 7.5 points per game in the season.
“We spent a lot of time watching films. It’s a super talented team,” said Joffrion. “Their quarterback is solid and leads their offense. Delhomme, No. 1, is a very explosive player for her, competing on running back, receiver and DB. You are well trained. I think it will be a very good game.
“I think the most important thing for both teams is who is going to stop the run? They are a strong team and sometimes we are too. In my opinion, whoever does the best job is the one who wins. You have to be able to run the ball, especially in the playoffs.”