Warriors, Saints home for week two

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Saints will look to go to 2-0 while the Warriors open up their season this Friday.

Nansemond River High School (0-0) vs. Maury High School (1-0)

The Warriors return to their home field for the first time since their electric 2017 season. Nansemond River finished the season last year a game away from the Class 5 state championship. They did finish Class 5 Region A champions and return most of the standouts on that team.

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NRHS will be without a strong senior class that featured the likes of Gerard Stringer, Quincy Gregg, Evan Lomax and others. However, they are ready to get the show started this season. Preparation has been somewhat limited for the Warriors because of the heat advisory; however, they feel comfortable about being ready for Maury.

Maury defeated the Bethel High School Bruins last week and will try to play spoiler to coach Justin Conyers’ first game. They have a lot of athletes, and Conyers knows the Warriors will need to be disciplined if they want to win.

“They have some athletes, and they are well coached,” Conyers said. “But if we play our football, we shouldn’t have any issues.”

The Warriors will have to make sure they avoid a slow start, as Maury has already played a game. Expectations are high — it’s the first home game of the year and Conyers’ first game as the Warriors’ head coach.

“I am excited, and I’m truly blessed to get another opportunity as a head coach,” Conyers said. “I have a great team, coaching staff and a supportive administration. Everything is in place, and I just have to do my part. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous though.”

Last season, the Warriors went on the road to face Maury for opening weekend, and the Warriors earned the win. This Friday, they want to make sure they are staying disciplined on the field and sticking to what they have practiced.

“We want to play with respect, discipline and integrity,” Conyers said. “We want to make sure we represent our school and city in everything we do. We want to have a next-play mentality. If you do something wrong or missed something, it’s on to the next play.”

Expectations are high for NRHS because of the playmakers they return. Kevin Johnson, Rashaad Williams, Quijoun Gordon, Joeziah Autrey and Payton Payne are a few standouts from last season that have returned. They also added Keonte’ Cobb.

Nansemond River will host Maury at 7 p.m.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (1-0) vs. Blue Ridge School (0-0)

NSA is fresh off a second-half comeback win over North Cross School. This week they host Blue Ridge and are looking to start 2-0 for the first time under Coach Mike Biehl. The two teams didn’t meet last season, but they did in 2016, when Blue Ridge won.

Like the Warriors, the Saints have had to improvise a little in regards of preparation because of the heat.

“This week hasn’t been ideal, but we have done the best we can,” Biehl said. “I would think they are maybe going through similar things. So this game may be a tough battle between us and them. It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”

If there are any advantages going into this game, NSA has them. They played last week, and they are on their home field. Blue Ridge has yet to play a game yet this season. While going through preparations, the Saints feel like this week will be good for the playmakers.

They believe that their skill position players will have one-on-one matchups that could end up in the Saints favor. Last week, George Pettaway, Ehron Knight, Zac Morris and others showed how the Saints have a multitude of talent returning.

Biehl has also told his guys to forget last week. This a new week, and nothing the Saints did last week will carry over into this week. So Biehl is also preaching a new focus each week.

“Nothing we did against North Cross is going to carry over,” Biehl said. “Week in and week out we are looking at different ways to make sure our guys are looking at the right now.”

NSA hosts Blue Ridge at 7 p.m.