Getting warmed up

Published 11:38 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nansemond-Suffolk’s first public outing under head football coach Kevin Allen was the initial test for new systems on both sides of the ball.

The Saints, with senior Will Crenshaw as the first-string quarterback, practiced their new option running game against Group AA Poquoson. The visiting Bull Islanders were well-organized and looked in midseason form compared to most squads only midway through the preseason. Poquoson scored four touchdowns, with two coming with both first-team squads on the field while holding NSA scoreless.

For the first half of the scrimmage, each team ran 10 plays then switched sides. The Saints struggled on their first series on offense until the final couple snaps.

Junior running back Ryan May had the first encouraging gain of the series with a 9-yard carry up the middle. Crenshaw followed by keeping the ball around the right side of the line for a 25-yard gain on the final play of NSA’s possession.

Poquoson, starting at its own 30, moved the ball efficiently until getting to the NSA 20. From there, the Saints pushed Poquoson back on two of three plays and the series ended with Poquoson facing what would’ve been 4th-and-10 at the 20.

The second-team offenses and defenses took the field for the next two series. Poquoson scored twice in its 10 plays, once on a 70-yard run and a few plays later on a 60-yard run.

The rest of the scrimmage was closer to a live game with the main exception being no special teams plays.

NSA’s first chance on offense resulted in a 3rd-and-long play and an interception against Crenshaw on NSA’s first pass play of the scrimmage.

Following the turnover, the Bull Islanders moved the ball 30 yards in three plays for a touchdown.

Through the remainder of the evening, NSA’s rushing game developed a better rhythm with May and Kenny Rice each getting a few good gains.

NSA’s defense stopped Poquoson on its next three possessions. Back-to-back sacks, then on 3rd-and-25, May recovered a Poquoson fumble to end one series. NSA held the Bull Islanders on downs two other times.

NSA travels to St. Anne’s Belfield in Charlottesville for a scrimmage on Thursday. The Saints, trying to build on last year’s 5-5 record, then open the season at Windsor on Friday, Sept. 4.