Trojans’ repeat dream ends with 30-0 playoff loss
The wheels came off the Cross Trojans’ wagon for about four minutes in the second quarter last week, and it had nothing to do with any Whirlwinds, or even a stiff breeze.
A horse collar penalty, a pick six interception and a bad punt snap resulted in three Timmonsville Whirlwinds touchdowns over the four-minute span as the Whirlwinds dashed Cross’ hopes of defending its 2012 Class A Div. II state championship with a 30-0 shutout at CHS.
“We refuse to make any excuse here at Cross,” said Coach Shaun Wright. “Timmonsville had the better team and the better coaches. To get shut out at home is a tough pill to swallow but in this business it can happen to the best of them.”
The Trojan offense fell apart after its first series of the game stalled inside the Timmonsville 40-yard line.
Wright said the malaise had been something that has plagued his team all season.
“This is a product of too much celebration during the off season ... now we should be back to being hungry for respect,” he said of the 2012 Class A Div. II state championship the Trojans won last year.
Tamaric Jones threw three touchdown passes to lead Timmonsville (6-6) to the Class A semi-finals on Nov. 22.
Four fumbles and an interception nullified any sustainable offense for the Trojans. The best scoring opportunity for Cross came on their opening possession of the second half, as Devontae Shepherd single-handedly carried the Trojans on his back 58 yards in five plays to the nine-yard line, but a fumble killed the drive.
“They were a better team than we thought,” said Wright.
Cross ends its season with a 6-6 mark overall and will say goodbye to a strong core of seniors led by Shepherd and Evans.
The senior backs combined for almost 7,000 yards rushing for their careers. Evans rushed for nearly 2,700 yards, including more than 1,000 yards this season.
Shepherd finishes out his career with more than 4,200 yards on the ground and 1,300-plus yards in 2013.
Along with Greg Jones who paved the way for Shepherd and Evans, the Trojans will have some big shoes to fill next season. As for their chances at repeating as state champs, winning one title is hard; winning back-to-back championships is almost impossible.
“This was a frustrating way to end a season that started off frustrating,” he said. “In spite of it all we are blessed to have finished the season working hard.”
Adversity followed the Trojans throughout the 2013 season following the tragic loss of assistant coach Antonio Simmons over the summer.
“Losing a game is really not so big when you think about all what we lost this year,” Wright said. “We are thankful for the Simmons family as we will continue to carry the legacy that Antonio helped start here.”
As for the 2014 season, it begins next week, according to Wright.
“We will rest for a week and will begin planning for next year,” he said.