All Suffolk schools in action this weekend

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, August 29, 2019

Football season is officially back under way, with all Suffolk schools in action this weekend. Lakeland High School will be the only team at home this week.

Lakeland High School vs. Wilson High School

The Cavaliers and new Coach Joe Jones will start the season off against Wilson. Last year, the Cavs went on the road to Wilson and took a 14-7 loss. However, Lakeland is looking forward to starting off the season on a high note.

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“Preparation has been good this week, and we are feeling good,” Jones said. “Wilson is a good team, and they are a strong team. We are going to have to be very disciplined, and we are going to have to match their intensity from the gate.”

Jones, 31, is in his first head coaching role, coming from Oscar Smith High School as the defensive coordinator there. Jones knows it will be a different feel on the sideline this year with him overseeing all parts of the field instead of just the defense, but he is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a bit more intense making sure everybody is together and things are going smoothly,” Jones said. “It’s a different feeling, but a responsibility I’m glad to have. We are looking forward to competing, and as long as we are executing to the best of our abilities, the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Lakeland will host Wilson at 7 p.m. Friday.

Nansemond River High School at Norview High School

The Warriors will go on the road for week one as they take on Norview. The two teams matched up with one another in the Class 5 Region A playoffs a few years ago, and Norview was the victor. However, this Nansemond River team opens up the season with a lot of expectations with the talent they have coming back, and they, just like everyone else, are expecting a strong season.

“We are excited about the season and the potential we have as a team,” Coach Justin Conyers said. “Right now, we feel like we have been getting the credit we deserve as a program and now we have to go out there and prove it. We are no longer the underdog. Everyone knows the type of team we are; we want to step up to the challenge.”

From the end of last season until now, the Warriors have added talent both on the field and coaching staff. Former Nansemond-Suffolk Academy head coach Lew Johnston will be in control of the offense for the Warriors this season. Johnston most recently coached the Saints to a state title in 2015. Conyers was the defensive coordinator there at the time.

Conyers believes the key to starting off the season with a win is to focus on themselves. They know Norview is a formidable opponent but also know if the Warriors execute like they know they can, they will be fine.

Nansemond River will be at Norview at 7 p.m. Friday.

King’s Fork High School at Smithfield High School

The Bulldogs will showcase their new-look team under Coach Kermit Buggs on the road against Smithfield Friday night. Buggs makes his way back to the high school ranks after recently spending time at Old Dominion University and before that at programs like Penn State and University of Connecticut.

All offseason, Buggs has been reshaping the program, and against Smithfield, they are hoping to display some of those things. This game will have a bit of meaning to Buggs, as his dad was a former head coach at Smithfield for 20 years.

“The kids are anxious to get started as well as our staff to get out and get going,” he said. “It’s kind of a rivalry thing for me personally, but we are all excited to get on the field.”

King’s Fork knows they are preparing for a capable opponent, and they will need to be physical.

“They have a good quarterback and some good skill players,” Buggs said. “We are going to have to make sure we are being physical. We want to see good execution from the things we are working on and doing the things we are supposed to do.”

King’s Fork will be at Smithfield at 7 p.m. Friday.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (0-1) at Blue Ridge School

The Saints head back on the road for the second week in a row Saturday as they look to bounce back against Blue Ridge. Last week, the Saints were shut out against North Cross 40-0, and Coach Mike Biehl feels confident in the team’s ability to bounce back this week.

“I felt like we have one of our best practices this week,” Biehl said. “The guys are feeling good, and they want to get back out there and work on their games.”

Last year, the Saints defeated Blue Ridge 42-34. NSA has a good feel for the things Blue Ridge likes to do as a team and feels this will be a good week for them. The Saints will have to be better in the run game defensively, as they gave up more than 200 yards overall last week. Biehl is hoping to see the guys play faster on the field this week.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the guys playing the game the way we are capable of,” Biehl said. “We want to play faster than what we did last week. We just want to be more comfortable in our roles, and I feel like we will be.”

NSA will be at Blue Ridge School at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.