Deep Creek vs. Nansemond River (Video Still: Andy Hilton/recruit757)
Nansemond River locks down third in the SED with a win over Deep Creek
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
It wasn’t a tale of two halves. It was a tale of Nansemond River dominating for three quarters only to watch Deep Creek roar back to within ten points in a three minute span of the fourth quarter.
The Warriors’ performance was enough to give a head coach a heart attack.
“I said Thursday that we’re going to finish (the regular season) 8-2 and that’s what we did. Our biggest objective for this year was to get better. We wanted to go 9-1 or 10-0, but that didn’t happen. We lost to a great Oscar Smith team and a great Indian River team,” said Nansemond River head coach Justin Conyers after the game. “(Deep Creek) had some fight in them. When you’re a well coached team, you’re going to keep going until the last play.”
Nansemond River stopped Deep Creek on their opening possession, then drove the ball down field for a X’Zavion Evans touchdown and an Evans two pointer to make the score 8-0. Evans scoring touchdowns was the norm for Friday night as he out scored Deep Creek by himself.
X’zavion Evans took direct snaps most of the night on his way to 224 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, one 26-yard touchdown pass and three two-point conversions. 36 points total. 42 if you count the TD pass.
Deep Creek answered with a score on their second possession when Antoine Flora got the corner and raced down the visitor’s sideline for a 59-yard touchdown run. The Hornets failed to convert two and trailed 8-6 with 4:11 left in the first quarter.
Nansemond River scored 37 straight points from that point to take a 45-6 lead and start the running clock with 10:49 left in the game.
Deep Creek didn’t score their second touchdown until there was 5:39 left in the game.
The wheels came off for Nansemond River when the ensuing kickoff was unceremoniously misplayed. Deep Creek recovered the kick inside the Warrior 20 and scored at 4:33 with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jayden Bailey to Braxton Williams. A reverse halfback pass was used to convert two and the score was 45-21.
Deep Creek recovered the onside kick and scored on the next play when Braxton Williams reeled off a 40-yard touchdown run. Score: 45-28.
The Hornets forced a three-and-out and scored on the next play when Bailey found Jalen Jones wide open down the visitor’s sideline for a 71-yard back breaker. The PAT was good and Nansemond River’s lead was cut to 45-35.
The mood on the home sideline got very sober very quickly. There was 2:30 left in the game and the Hornets had scored 29 points in just over three minutes of regulation.
Nansemond River recovered the onside kick, had Evans earn them a couple of key first downs, and they ran out the clock for a dramatic win.
“We were never nervous; we knew we were going to win the game. We just had to buckle down and get the game over with,” said Conyers.
As the #6 seed in the Region 5A playoffs, Nansemond River (8-2) will get a rematch with Indian River (8-2) next Friday. The Braves rolled to a 40-20 win over the Warriors back on September 20.
With the loss, Deep Creek (7-3) settles into the #7 seed and is likely to play #2 seeded Maury (10-0) next week. Those two programs haven’t met on the football field in well over 20 years.
FINAL: Nansemond River 45, Deep Creek 35
– Andy Hilton
Deep Creek 6 0 0 29 – 35
Nansemond River 14 16 7 8 – 45