Warriors start on the path

Published 9:21 pm Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sack: Nansemond River defensive lineman Tracey Parker, Jr. brings down Poquoson’s quarterback during Saturday’s scrimmage at Poquoson. The Warriors open their regular season on Friday, Sept. 2.

POQUOSON – Nansemond River still has three weeks to go before playing a football game that counts. Nonetheless, the Warriors were at work in Saturday’s heat scrimmaging against the defending Group AA state champions, Poquoson.

“This doesn’t feel early to us,” said Nansemond River head coach Tracey Parker. “We intentionally wanted to scrimmage at this time, to evaluate our players and work on what we need to.”

The Warriors, offensively and defensively, as well as varsity and junior varsity, turned in some outstanding big plays against the Islanders, who struck back and returned the favor a couple times during the later stages of the scrimmage.

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Defensive linemen Tracey Parker, Jr. and Corey Barnes dropped Islander runners in the backfield during Poquoson’s first set of plays. The sides traded 10 plays each until the last couple possessions of the workout, when truer game-like rules went into play.

On the first Warrior snap, Lamont Brown took a handoff going straight up the middle, and he was able to keep going. He made one move on an Islander safety and sprinted away for an 80-yard touchdown run.

Younger players saw lots of action for both squads. NR JV running back Latrell Sandifer raced for touchdown runs of 80 and 85 yards.

“Every player who dressed got 10 or more plays versus a very good opponent,” Parker said. “Now we have everyone on film a little bit and this can be a great evaluation tool early on for us.”

On the defensive side, the Warriors largely did a good job against Poquoson’s highly-respected running attack. The Islanders scored on a 75-yard pass play and again, a few snaps later, on an interception and short return for a touchdown.

NR’s defense created its own big turnover a few minutes later. Justin Anderson cut in from the edge, tipped, then caught an Islander option pitch, giving the Warriors the ball at the Poquoson 10.

Brown rushed the Warriors down to the one-yard line. Fullback Demario Valentine went through the middle of the line to score from there.

“We got the opportunity to compete versus a seasoned, veteran team that’s pretty darn good. This was a good first scrimmage for us, a good measuring stick. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re further along than at this point last season,” Parker said.

The Warriors are trying to improve on a 2-8 record last season. Nansemond River hosts a scrimmage against Kecoughtan on Aug. 25, and the regular season opens Sept. 2 against Wilson at Arrowhead Stadium.