NSA senior is two-sport standout

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It’s not even his best sport, but senior running back Will Crenshaw is a major reason why Nansemond-Suffolk’s football team is sitting pretty with a 6-2 record and a solid spot in the state playoff race with two Fridays left in the regular season.

Crenshaw’s first athletic love, and his best sport, even with having gained more than 1,200 rushing yards for the Saints so far this season, is lacrosse.

“I started lacrosse in sixth grade with the Hampton Roads Lacrosse League,” said Crenshaw.

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“Then it kind of hit me the summer before my junior year. I spent the whole summer at camps and clinics and playing in leagues, and I still hadn’t had enough lacrosse by the end of the summer. So I knew it was something I loved and I wanted to keep on doing it into college,” said Crenshaw.

Crenshaw’s committed to a scholarship offer to play lacrosse for Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville is adding men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport this coming spring, but is jumping right into NCAA Div. I competition. The Dolphins have some of the best lacrosse programs in the country, such as Mount St. Mary’s, Denver, North Carolina and Duke on their inaugural schedule.

Crenshaw made an official visit to Jacksonville and came away “really excited” after talking with head coach Matt Kerwick.

“He asked me about my other choices and I told him I wanted to go (to Jacksonville), and he said he wanted me to come and be a part of the team,” said Crenshaw. “Hopefully I can be a part of a new program’s success.”

Back to the season at hand, at least for the next two weeks, and the Saints are working to get another two weeks beyond that.

“He’s been a major part of our success, especially with his leadership,” said NSA head coach Kevin Allen.

Crenshaw is fine admitting he’s proud of the football program’s success, even as there are big goals left to go for.

“It’s every team’s goal at the beginning of the season, to get into states. As seniors, we’ve come a long way. Josh Todd, Baron Goodman, and I, we’ve played varsity since ninth grade, when we were 2-8. It’s been a huge transition, and I guess the main thing is it’s just hard work paying off,” said Crenshaw.

Goodman, who’s gotten Div. I recruiting interest as an offensive lineman, would’ve been a major two-way player for the Saints all season. Two leg injuries though, one in NSA’s first scrimmage of the season, and one in his first game back after the first injury on Oct. 9 at Portsmouth Christian, have kept Goodman out.

“He’s still our vocal leader,” said Crenshaw, “even if he’s not on the field. He’s definitely our vocal leader. He gets everyone hyped up before the game. He’s still a huge part of this team in getting up prepared for each game and in everything we do.”

On the field, even without Goodman, the line leading the way for NSA’s offense has been a strength.

“They want to block for (Crenshaw),” said Allen of his offensive line. Bayard Mason, Sam Rapaport, Joe Parrish, Johnny Horton, Sean Buttery and tight end Josh Todd are the starters on the line. Mason, Horton, Buttery and Todd are seniors.

“Horton, Mason and Buttery, they’ve been starting on the line since they were 10th graders,” said Crenshaw. “They might not be the biggest line, but they’re fundamentally sound. They make holes and that’s what gives me a chance to make plays.”

“The guys work hard every day in practice. They definitely love what we’re doing and there’s no complaining. That puts a coach in a great position because it’s easy to practice as hard as you need to,” said Allen, who’s in his first season with NSA.

The Saints travel to Richmond on Friday to take on Trinity Episcopal at 3 p.m.