This time last year, the Cross High School football team had already packed up the gear and began preparing for winter sports.
But Friday the Trojans begin their playoff run after going winless in 2018.
The Trojans (5-4, 2-2 region) blanked Scott’s Branch 20-0 Oct. 25 and spent last week healing up and getting back to fundamentals.
They open the Class A playoffs at home against Military Magnet (1-7). The Eagles’ one win came Friday, 58-28, against Charleston Math and Science.
“Watching Military Magnet, they remind me of some of their past teams,” Cross coach Shaun Wright said. “They are scrappy and they are playing hard. Their quarterback will be one of the best we have faced. He does a lot for them offensively. Coach (Derrell) Pringle does a good job getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers. On defense they are quick and their defensive coordinator does a good job. They are fast. We will have to take advantage of what they give us and protect the football. We have a lot of respect for their coaches and players and we look forward to playing our best.”
Kelvin Heyward had 225 yards rushing and three touchdowns for MMA Friday. He also threw two touchdown passes as the Eagles rolled up more than 460 yards.
The Cross-MMA winner travels to top-seeded Baptist Hill Nov. 15 in the second round. For the Trojans, that would mean a second crack at the Bobcats.
Cross lost to Baptist Hill, 22-14, Sept. 20.
The playoffs mark the final moments in a Cross uniform for a half dozen players.
“We have six seniors on the team and they have done a good job of buying into what we preached,” Wright said. “They understand they have good help around them and they have come together at the right time.”
On the season, senior quarterback Deondre Brown has passed for 443 yards and two scores. He’s also rushed for 244 yards and four touchdowns.
Fellow senior Dorian Pinckney has 303 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He’s also hauled in a touchdown catch.
Junior Tylik Green is the second leading rusher with 266 yards and four scores. Junior Kaden White and senior Deandre Pringle have contributed 158 yards and 132 rushing yards respectively. White has scored three times.
Junior receiver Xavier Gattis is the top pass catcher, with 23 grabs for 222 yards.
On defense, Green is the leading tackler with 41 stops. Freshman Damion Haines and sophomore Ashton Howard have 36 and 31 stops. Pinckney and senior Dillon Benenhaley each have 28 stops.