Saints start march back to top

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2005

Daryl Ricks already knows what it's like to be the best; he was a member of the Nansemond-Suffolk Junior Midget squad that won the state title last year. Now he's got a chance to get back there.

"I feel pretty good," said Ricks, expected to be one of the team's top backs when the Saints open their season Sept. 3 at an unannounced location. "We have a good team back this year."

Last year, Dominique Patterson rushed to a league-record 1,354 yards while helping the squad to a perfect 8-0 regular season; this time, Ricks hopes to run farther.

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"This is my last year," he said, "and I want to leave my name behind."

He'll need some blocking to get it done, and newly-promoted fullback Bobby Lamm is one of many who are ready.

"I'm nervous," Lamm said of his "rookie" year. "There's bigger players. I think we'll have a pretty good season. We've got a lot of talent on the team."

Meanwhile, back on the Pee Wee team (there are five squad this year; Flag, Mighty Mite, Junior Pee Wee, Pee Wee and Junior Midget), Brandon Mathis can't wait to improve on last year's 5-3 record.

"I think we've got some hard hitters, like me," he said. "I'm looking to play at middle linebacker. It's fun to see where the play's going. When you see the guy blast through the line, you've got to shoot through the gap and hit him as hard as you can."

That's what John Grady and the rest of the Junior Pee Wee Saints hope to get done.

"I want to tackle a lot of people," said the 10-year-old. "We're very fast on offense and defense. We get to run a lot; it's good exercise."

Mighty Mite quarterback Jordan Ramirez doesn't want TOO much exercise.

"I've got some awesome running backs and a good offensive line," he said. "If someone gets through, I'm going to lower my shoulder and run over them."