Suffolk Piranhas ready to attack

Published 10:53 pm Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kenan Armstead sports the new Suffolk Piranha logo on his helmet during the 10-and-under team’s practice at King’s Fork Middle School. The Piranhas are the first AAU football organization in Suffolk. The 10U Piranhas open their season hosting a squad from Richmond on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Turlington Woods School.

The Suffolk Piranhas are entering their first football season having a lot of fun, at least aside from the 50-yard bear crawls for jumping offsides and the non-stop wind sprints at the end of practice.

The Piranhas will have their first chance to prove all the work is worth it on Saturday. The 10-and-under Piranhas, one of two squads introducing AAU Football to Suffolk this fall, kick off their season with a home game at Turlington Woods School at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Suffolk had practices on the fields behind King’s Fork Middle School Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in preparation for the debut. The Piranhas have been out in the heat all summer.

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“Since June 25,” said 12-and-under lineman Dia Gray.

“We’re excited,” said fellow lineman Aaron McMahon.

“We’re kind of nervous,” Gray said, “but we’ve worked very hard so we should come out on top.”

The 12U Piranhas won’t get under way this weekend. The 10U Piranhas get going against the Bellemeade Rams, a squad from Richmond.

AAU Football divisions are divided solely by age. Unlike Pop Warner Football, weight doesn’t play a part in what division a kid plays in.

Gray and McMahon are students at John Yeates Middle School and both are already looking ahead to the middle school football season in the spring. All the work with the Piranhas will benefit them in John Yeates uniforms as well.

“There have been bear crawls,” McMahon said. “When we run, the coaches add extra to it, like crawls or chopping our feet or hitting the ground, then getting back up and running.”

“It helps get us in shape, and it helps with our speed,” Gray said.

For now, though, everything’s geared toward taking the field for the Piranhas.

About 40 players came out for the two Piranha teams. It’s enough to get the teams going for their first season, but it’s clear every Piranha will see lots of action on offense, defense and special teams.

Wednesday’s practice included running through as much of the offensive playbook as daylight permitted. Following sprints to wrap up practice, at least the physical part of practice, the coaches handed out homework for the players to study.

“It’s been hard, but we’ve worked hard every day. Our team is good. Our coaches are good, so we hope to win the championship this year,” Gray said.