NRHS ready for Grassfield attackPublished 9:31pm Thursday, September 6, 2012
Grassfield (1-0, 0-0) at Nansemond River (1-0, 0-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season – Grassfield 16, Nansemond River 13
Warriors head coach Tracey Parker admits that Grassfield has had the upper hand in previous meetings, but last season’s close game showed those days may be short-lived.
“We felt like we had a chance to win that ballgame at the end,” he said.
Both teams come into this season’s match-up fresh off blowout victories. Nansemond River routed Wilson 42-6, and Grassfield took out Maury 51-21.
Parker’s focus against the Grizzlies is on stopping their potent offense.
“Grassfield has that two-headed monster in the backfield, the two running backs,” he said. “Of course, you’re going to have to be able to contain and tackle those guys.”
Grassfield running back Isaiah Harper carried the ball against Maury nine times for 98 yards and a touchdown, and Vincent Lowe tallied eight carries for 68 yards and a touchdown as well.
The Warriors’ defense was instrumental in the Wilson victory, and Parker expects it to play a role of great importance tonight as well.
“We’re going to need our linebackers to run to the ball really well on Friday night,” Parker said. “These guys (from Grassfield), they run hard, and they’re elusive.”
Parker pointed out that the Grizzlies have success throwing the ball, too. Their quarterback Blake LaRussa was startlingly productive against Maury, despite having only four completions on eight attempts. He passed for 88 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
“Up front, the front seven, the secondary, we’re going to have to put it all together,” Parker said. “So, (if) we get to the ball, we wrap them up, we tackle well, I think we’ll be in a position to have an opportunity to win the ballgame.”
Parker makes it clear that the big win against Wilson is not making his team overconfident.
“Nothing has changed; practice is the same, our preparation is the same,” he said. “We want to have an opportunity to go into the postseason, and winning just one ballgame can’t do that for you.”
Hickory (1-0, 0-0) at Lakeland (1-0, 1-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season – Lakeland 41, Hickory 15
Cavaliers head coach Glenwood Ferebee stated before the season began that their eyes were on the state championship, and his team played like it in its 49-0 victory against Deep Creek last Thursday.
He expects Hickory to use its size up front on offense to execute a ground-and-pound running attack that the Cavs defense will have to be ready for. Against Deep Creek, that defense held the Hornets to 29 yards of offense and one first down.
Hickory started its season with a 22-8 victory over Norview.
Indian River (0-1, 0-0) at King’s Fork (1-0, 0-0) – 7 p.m.
Last season – King’s Fork 19, Indian River 16
Bulldogs head coach Joe Jones described Indian River as dangerous, because the team has athletic and speedy players, particularly on offense.
“We’ve got to put pressure on their offense and keep their athletes contained and bottled up,” he said. “And we got good athletes too and we have good speed, so we just got to keep them contained and try to prevent them from getting into space.”
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Davon Grayson is ready to play his first game of the season after recovering from an ankle injury.
Nansemond-Suffolk (0-1, 0-0) at Christchurch (1-0, 1-0) – Saturday, 1 p.m.
Last season – Christchurch 33, Nansemond-Suffolk 0
Last year’s Saints team followed up a loss to First Flight with another one to eventual state champions Christchurch School.
“They had an unbelievable football team,” coach Lew Johnston said. “But they graduated almost all of their linemen and we’ve got just about everybody back. So, looking at them on video, I think we match up very well.”
Offensive execution and tackling were the focuses in practice this week to prepare for Christchurch.