Warriors ready to take on the opposition

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

If fate smiled on the Nansemond River football team by helping them to go 7-3 two seasons ago, it’s been making them pay things back ever since. After staggering to a 2-8 record last year, hampered by the loss of Western Branch transfer Dominic Scott, the Warriors now face 2004-05 without Trayce McPherson, who finished among the district’s elite in rushing the past two seasons. With his grades below the required 2.0 for last season, McPherson recently transferred to Hampton. As if that blow didn’t put them on the ropes hard enough, the team also saw 2004-05 Southeastern District Defensive Player of the Year Eric Berry and his partner on defense, Dennis Conley, graduate in June!

But hey, nothing makes a team better like the guts to face down a challenge, right? To look bad luck in the face and say, &uot;You’re not going to keep ME from tearing it up for my last year here!&uot;

&uot;We’d love to have Trayce, but we don’t,&uot; said Brian Maus, about to begin his fifth season of leading the Warriors. &uot;Yes, we’ll have to find some way to replace that 1,300 yards of his that we’ll be missing.&uot; He’s got two new weapons to do so; seniors Joe Rivera and Jason Brown.

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&uot;I don’t think it’ll be that hard, because I played running back in junior varsity,&uot; said Rivera, who played mostly on defense last season. &uot;I still have the knack for it. I knew I’d have to step up and play the position, because we’re going on a winning streak this year.&uot;

Brown shared rushing duties with McPherson last season. &uot;I’ve gotten quicker and stronger,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve lost a little bit of weight. I’m just going to play the best I can for my last year.&uot;

Over on the other side of the ball, Philip Henderson now has to pick up the slack left by Berry and Conley’s departure. Like Berry did last season, Henderson spent much of his summer watching game tapes and running up and down Mount Trashmore. &uot;By the first day of practice, I knew I was ready,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a challenge, but I’m ready to take on the responsibility.&uot;

So is the rest of the squad, Maus said. &uot;The attitude of the team is good. We had one player leave, and the rest of the players knew that they had to pick it up. They didn’t let it bother them.&uot;