Warriors and Cavs open their seasons

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, August 31, 2017

Three Suffolk football teams will in action this week. The Warriors and Cavaliers will be opening up their seasons.

Nansemond River High School (0-0) at Maury High School (0-1)

The Warriors will kick off their season against Maury High School. Nansemond River will be making its way over to Norfolk to face a Maury team that already lost its season opener to Bethel High School last week.

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Preparation for Maury this week has been solid. Nansemond River is hoping its season opener can resemble that of the last two years. They defeated Menchville High School in their season opener in 2016, 63-0, and 53-7 the year before that. The Warriors believe they are being slept on from spectators this year and are hoping they can send a statement on Friday.

“We have had a solid week of practice. The whole team is playing with a chip on their shoulder,” senior Quincy Gregg said. “We feel we are slept on this year and that’s only going to add fuel to the fire.”

Returning for the Warriors are seniors Gerard Stringer and Gregg. They return nine starters. In the backfield, things will look different this year. Junior Jaquan Braybay is expected to be the lead man in the backfield, as JeVon Waller will not play his senior year. Everyone will be expected to contribute for the Warriors this season.

“We have been looking good,” Stringer said. “I’m confident in my team against Maury. I feel like we are more than ready. If we play aggressive and do everything coach prepared us to do, we should be fine.”

The Warriors will be on the road against Maury at 7 p.m. Friday.

Lakeland High School (0-0) vs. Wilson High School (0-1)

The Cavs will once again open their season against Wilson, but this time it will be on Lakeland’s home field. Last year, Lakeland went on the road to take a 28-8 victory. For much of that whole game, the Cavs were in control. Wilson’s only score came on a kick return for a touchdown. This year, the Cavs want to bring that same kind of energy.

Last week, the Presidents lost their season opener to King’s Fork High School.

Lakeland coach Kevin Knight is looking forward to the game, and he has been encouraged by his team’s preparation. Wednesday, he felt the Cavs had their best practice of the week.

“Wednesday was a good day for us,” he said. “We needed that type of practice, because that’s our last padded practice before game time. We were moving fast and communicating. I’m feeling good about my boys.”

Today, Lakeland will be looking to establish the run game early. They graduated 2,000-yard running back Damontra Milteer. It is not easy to replace that kind of production, so Knight will be excited to see what they have back there. Tyriq Rawlings will be expected to get most of the production in the backfield. Teams centered their game plans around stopping Milteer last year. This year, teams may try to test how strong the backfield will be without Milteer.

Junior Tyquan Holloman returns as the man under center for the Cavs. Knight is expecting a big year for Holloman, who will be in his third year as the starting quarterback for the team. He has said he thinks Holloman can be the best quarterback in the 757 this year.

“We want him to get the ball out and spread the ball around to our guys,” Knight said. “We are expecting good things from Tyquan this year.”

Defensively, Lakeland returns one of the best linebackers in the area in DeAndre Faulk. He will anchor a defense that got production from the front line to the back line last season.

Energy and anticipation have been building up for the Cavs, who had the best season in school’s history last year. They are ready to build on that this year.

“Best part of this time of year is when the lights come on and the crowd is loud,” Faulk said. “We are pumped up and ready to go for this season. There’s no better feeling.”

Lakeland will host Wilson Friday at 7 p.m.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (0-1) at North Cross School (0-0)

NSA will look to bounce back from its season-opener lost to Norfolk Christian last Saturday, but they will have to travel four hours to do so.

The Saints will take on North Cross of Roanoke on the road. Considering all the circumstances, this could be a tough situation, but coach Mike Biehl won’t allow the Saints to make that excuse. Last year, the Saints lost 65-42 in a high-powered offensive matchup.

Biehl has been happy with practice this week. A point of emphasis has been stopping the run. Last week against Norfolk Christian, the Saints gave up 200 yards to one person. What North Cross does offensively is similar to Norfolk Christian.

“We have to make sure we aren’t giving any easy running lanes,” Biehl said. “We have to make it hard for them to gain anything on the ground. We have to get them into predictable third down situations.”

Offensively, the Saints will have to limit turnovers. Last week, Robby Tew threw five interceptions, and he has vowed to cut those down to put his team in better positions. It will take an all-around effort for the Saints to get a win today. Biehl feels if his team wins the turnover battle, that will put them in position to win the game.

NSA travels to North Cross to face them at 7 p.m. Friday.