Suffolk schools ready to erase last week

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Suffolk’s football teams are looking forward to erasing last week from their memories, after all four teams took a loss.

Some will have to wait longer than others, though. Due to weather, some games have been postponed, but others will go on as scheduled.

Lakeland High School (2-1) vs. Great Bridge High School (0-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 26

After facing what will probably be the toughest opponent the Cavaliers will play in Oscar Smith, they get a chance to get back to their winning ways against a 0-3 Great Bridge team.

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Preparation week has been limited due to weather not only for Lakeland but also for all Suffolk schools. The game has been rescheduled for Monday.

The Cavaliers return home and are confident they can improve to 3-1. Though Great Bridge has not won a game, Lakeland does not want to take them lightly.

“We wanted to go 10-0, but we are going to work hard to make sure we go 9-1,” offensive standout Damontra Milteer said. “This game is big for us, because it will show how we perform after a loss. It will show our growth.”

Last week, the Cavs were limited to 75 total yards, and Milteer had his first game that he rushed for less than 100 yards. Quarterback Tyquan Holloman didn’t have his best game, but coach Kevin Knight is confident he and the offense can return to form.

“We have to be able to continue to move the ball,” Knight said. “We need to get the ball out quick and make sure we get Tyquan in rhythm. We have been talking to him all week. He knows he can play better, and he’s ready to go.”

Defensively, Lakeland continues to improve. Not many teams are able to keep Oscar Smith to 17 points. Through three games, Lakeland have allowed 32 points with no passing touchdown. Great Bridge has only scored 19 points in three games. If Lakeland continues to play fierce defense, a shutout is possible Monday night.

“That’s what we strive for every week,” Knight said. “We never want to give up points. Our goal on defense is to force three turnovers a game.”

Last year, the game was close as the Cavs barely escaped with a 13-10 victory. Knight credits the defense last year for getting key stops in the red zone.

“We have to turn up our offensive pressure this time around,” Knight said. “If we want to be 3-1 after Monday, we will need to execute our game plan and play smart football for four quarters.”

Lakeland is at home against Great Bridge 7 p.m. Sept 26.

King’s Fork High School (2-1) at Western Branch High School (1-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 23

The Bulldogs are back on the road for the second time in the past three weeks. Their first road win came against Hickory, and now they will look to get their second road win of the season against a two-loss Western Branch team.

“I think our kids are hungry to get on the field,” coach Scottie Littles said. “We didn’t perform to the best of our abilities last weekend. I’m proud of our kids, because they are taking ownership of what they need to fix and are ready to get better.”

Littles is not taking the Western Branch football program for granted. Through three games, they have lost to two quality opponents in Lake Taylor and the Bulldogs’ cross-town rival, Lakeland.

“They are extremely athletic and extremely talented,” Littles said. “It’s still early in the season. They have a big offensive line, but I think our kids are up to the task.”

This week, the Bulldogs will look to scale back a few things on offense and focus on what they do best. From the start of the game, the Bulldogs want to get their skill players the ball in open space to let them work. King’s Fork’s rushing attack is solid, starting with Darran Butts, who has six touchdowns on the season.

Nasir Davis provides a solid back up to Butts. He is about 15 pounds heavier than Butts but can maintain his speed. Davis is a national qualifier in the 100 meter. As a coaching staff, the Bulldogs want to find ways to get him more touches.

“Coaches have to learn what we have to do better too,” Littles said. “This week we have worked on a few things to get Nasir more touches. Our 1-2 punch works well together, and we just have to do a better job at getting both those guys the ball in space.”

King’s Fork has made the transition from a Wing-T offense, and because they are still perfecting the current offense under Littles, they feel they haven’t played their best offensive football yet.

“I’ve told our guys we are still leaving money on the table in these games,” Littles said. “We haven’t played our A-game on offense yet, and that’s scary. We have to get a lot better and comes with reps and time.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs want to do the simple things such as tackling better. Making adjustments throughout the game and staying discipline against Western Branch’s rush attack will help the Bulldogs solidify their third win.

“I think we can capitalize on the pass and run,” Butts said. “We didn’t do well last week in those two categories. If we play how we’re supposed to and do our job, we will be fine.”

King’s Fork is at Western Branch 7 p.m. Sept. 23.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (1-2) at Perquimans High School (3-2) — 2 p.m. Sept. 24

The Saints will be on the road Saturday for the first time this season after three straight home games. NSA is 1-2 in those home games and will be taking on a Pirates football team that has yet to lose a game at home this season.

“Anytime you go on the road, you have to carry a big chip on your shoulder,” coach Mike Biehl said. “You’re going to a hostile environment with people that don’t want you there, and you have to use that energy to your advantage.”

The Pirates run a triple-option offense, and in the Saints’ preparation this week they worked on being comfortable seeing the different looks in that style of offense. Last week, the Pirates ran for 119 yards.

“We can’t get lured to sleep in all the options they are going to throw at us,” Biehl said. “They are going to make us play every side of the field, and we have to be ready for that.”

Though NSA is making progress, they believe they haven’t reached their full potential. Offensively, the Saints are hard to contain, because a different player can have a big game each week. Ehron Knight had the big week last week with 202 yards of total offense.

“We have a lot of guys who can make big plays,” senior Keshaun Moore said. “We certainly haven’t played our best as a team yet. If everyone plays their best, we will quickly catch our stride.”

“We have the mark of a good football team,” Biehl said. “Part of our offensive philosophy is you can’t stop everyone. If you take one guy away, it’s an opportunity for another one to step up.”

The Saints know the Pirates haven’t lost a home game and are ready for the challenge.

“This will be a big win for us,” Erek Smith said. “It’s our first road game, and most people feel that we don’t have a chance. That is going to motivate us more.”

NSA is at Perquimans High School Sept. 24.

Nansemond River High School (1-2) at Hickory High School (1-2) — 7 p.m. Sept. 23

The Warriors are coming off what most thought was a shocking loss to Deep Creek last week. This week they are back on the road for a second week in a row, as they take on a Hickory Hawks team that has lost its last two games. During the game, the Warriors lost numerous players to injury but are ready to play with what they have on Friday.

“I thought we had a really good practice Tuesday,” coach David Coccoli said. “We are still pretty banged up, so we are going to do the best we can with what we got.”

Coccoli credits Hickory for having a solid offensive line and a solid rushing attack. Last year the Warriors won 61-6, but they know they are seeing a much improved Hawks team.

“We can’t think about that game, because they are going to be motivated this year,” Coccoli said. “If we stop the run, which is their strength, we’ll be successful.”

“We have to come out with intensity,” quarterback DyQuan McGhee said. “We have to capitalize every chance we get. Our focus is not to take them lightly and take their foot off the gas.”

Nansemond River will be at Hickory 7 p.m. Sept 23.