Cross High School’s football team erupted in the second half to pull away from its opening playoff opponent.
The Trojans defeated visiting Military Magnet 36-0 Friday and travel to Hollywood for a rematch against Baptist Hill in the second round.
“I’m really proud of the effort our kids are playing with,” Cross coach Shaun Wright said. “As a coach you want to be playing your best football at the end of the year and we seem to be playing that way. We challenge the kids to play with effort and let the score indicate the outcome. To get our second shutout in a row is a testament to how hard our kids are playing from quarter to quarter.”
Cross (6-4) has blanked back-to-back opponents for the first time since 2013.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t overlook Military Magnet,” Wright said. “I thought we had a good bye week and good preparation going into the game. We controlled both lines of scrimmages and protected the football. Special teams were very good and that is always a recipe for winning.”
As a region champion, Baptist Hill received a first-round bye Friday. The Bobcats bring a 7-3 record into their second encounter with the Trojans this season.
The Bobcats edged Cross 22-14 Sept. 20 in Cross. The winner takes on either Lake View or Branchville Nov. 22.
Going back to 2007, they’ve split the last 12 meetings down the middle, 6-6. Baptist Hill has won two straight.
“These games have often been won by the team who has the ball last,” Wright said. “They beat us early in the year by a touchdown and we shook their hands with hopes we might could face them again in the playoffs. We will have to play well to give ourselves a chance. They have outstanding personnel, an outstanding coaching staff and good tradition. This is exciting for both communities. I expect a large crowd from Cross to be there with us. As always we want to play hard and shake their hands when the game is over.”
The Military Magnet game was up in the air at halftime, with the Trojans leading 8-0.
Dorian Pinckney’s 80-yard touchdown run and 2-point run by Tylik Green was the lone score in the first half.
Pinckney jumpstarted the second half with an 11-yard touchdown run and finished with 183 yards rushing on eight carries. He tacked on two more rushing touchdowns of 40 and 11 yards.
Cross’s other touchdown was a 29-yard hookup from Deondre Brown to Xavier Gattis. Kaden White chipped in 74 yards rushing.
Pinckney and Green led the Trojans with seven tackles each while Pinckney also made an interception.