Cross High School’s first chance to hit somebody wearing different colors was at Woodland High School on Aug. 8.
In sweltering heat on turf, the Trojans got in preseason football action against Woodland, Oceanside and Williston-Elko. Woodland and Oceanside, a pair of Class AA schools, were tough tests for Cross but the Trojans held their own against Williston-Elko, a fellow Class A school.
“That was good for us,” Cross coach Shaun Wright said. “The biggest thing I saw is we’re definitely not the same team we were last year. They’re going to approach the game differently. Last year, they didn’t think they had a chance to win. Now, they think they’ve got a chance to win if they play well.”
Wright’s team was winless in 2018 and is trying to end that drought this fall. The Trojans carried around 30 players to Woodland and were outmanned numbers-wise against the bigger schools. They started three freshmen on each side of the ball.
“It’s been hard to manage with this heat but we’re not in the shape we need to be in,” Wright said. “The heat has been ridiculous. We have a lot of guys that have to go both ways. The energy was there initially but we ran out of gas. Woodland has turf and that didn’t do us any favors.”
As far as positive takeaways, Wright said the Trojans threw it well. Cross has been run-heavy for years.
“I thought our short passing game was as good as it’s been in a while,” he said. “Our play-action game looked good. We’re wanting to become more balanced.”
Deondre Brown to Xavier Gattis was a productive connection and running back Deandre Pringle ran well. Wright said Brown threw two touchdown passes and Gattis had over 100 yards receiving.
On the other side of the ball, Cross didn’t come up from the secondary and tackle well.
“Tackling in the secondary was very sloppy,” Wright said. “We had lots of issues with that. The fatigue factor was a negative. Those are things that will lose you games.”
The Trojans were slated to play at Georgetown on Monday, Aug. 12 (after press time).
Cross opens the regular season on Aug. 23 at home against Burke.