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River prepares for war

Southeastern District teams have had five years to figure out a ploy to knock Nansemond River off its perch at the top – but so far, no one’s been able to do it.

Though the Warriors lost two regular season games last year – their most of their run as regular season titlists (the last four have put them as the best in the district tournament), they managed to escape with their fourth-straight regular season and third-straight tournament crown.

Now, if 2005 Coach of the Year Ed Young and his charges have anything to do with it, the Warriors will be left standing at least one more time.

&uot;I feel good that I’m in my second year,&uot; Young said as practice started Thursday. &uot;They’ve had a taste of me for a year. It’s neat to be able to defend a championship. I think we’ll be a fun team to watch. We’re going to run and press more than last year. We’ll be quicker and more athletic, and hopefully a lot smarter.&uot;

Finishing first in the district won’t be good enough for First Team All-District-finisher Vaughn Wilson, whose team has come within a victory of state competition the past four years.

&uot;There’s a lot of pressure, and we want to achieve a lot of success,&uot; said Wilson, who said he’s still trying to impress college coaches in his final year. &uot;We’ve got to go farther than last year and the last four years. We want to make it out of our gym (past Eastern regional competition) and to state.&uot; The squad opens its season Dec. 7 at home against Wilson.

After making All-District as freshmen last season, Nick Wright and Andre Jones know that no one’s underestimating the Warriors’ youth.

&uot;I feel all right,&uot; Wright said. &uot;Last year (District Player of the Year) Keith (Josey) showed me some stuff, and the rest of us played together.&uot;

The Warriors got second in the King’s Fork Fall Ball league over the past few months.

&uot;We’ve got to stay focused,&uot; said Jones, the only district freshman to make the First team. &uot;I don’t get into the hype; I just listen to my coaches. I’ve got to get better on defense. Mine wasn’t that good last year, and to get to the next level, it has to get better.&uot;

jason.norman@suffolknewsherald.com