Dukes face stiff gridiron tests to start season

by Kim Robins - Posted on Sep 01, 2010 - 04:31 PM

Gloucester High School varsity football players get their first test of the 2010 season tonight when they go up against the defending Peninsula District champions from Phoebus at 7 o’clock in the GHS stadium.

"That can be a good thing, to go up against the best in the district and find out where you are. We get that test right out of the gate," said GHS head coach Sonny Merchant. The next test will not be any easier, as Merchant and his Dukes face the perennially powerful Hampton Crabbers on Sept. 10.

"The potential for injury is high, these teams are tough and physical. But if you’re going to catch those teams, you do it while you’re healthy. I just as well get tested soon. It will tell us about our own preparation and whether we are ready to play against these teams," said Merchant, now in his third season with Gloucester.

"We did pretty good with Warhill, but not as well as we should have. We made more mental mistakes than I wanted to see," Merchant said of his team’s first scrimmage on Aug. 20. "But I think we are ahead of where we were last year and it was an opportunity to get all of the kids out on the field."