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Cross High School

 Cross gaining momentum heading into playoffs

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Cross—The Cross High football team has seen its share of ups and down this year. The Trojans wrapped up the regular season with a 5-3 record and had a rare open date during the final week. They are ranked No. 8 in the latest HSSR Class A poll with the playoffs ahead.

“The good thing about the bye week is that we got a chance to rest some kids. We got to go back, almost like spring practice, and work on fundamentals,” said head coach Shaun Wright.

Cross was 3-1 in Region 5-A, putting them in second place behind C.E. Murray in the standings. The Trojans open the playoffs at home against East Clarendon (2-8), and a victory there would send them to defending state champion Lake View in the second round.

“I don’t care where you play, that first game is always tough. Playing at home is good, but I think it’s always a tough matchup,” Wright said. “If you don’t focus on that one game, you could be out. You lose, you’re done. That’s the way we’re going to approach it.”

After some struggles offensively, Wright moved Koby Lisbon to quarterback. That move has paid off as Cross has scored over 40 points in each of the three games he’s been under center. Lisbon has 200 yards and four touchdowns on the ground this season and is 4-for-4 passing with two more scores.

“He gives us the best option for what we do offensively right now. He’s able to get us out of bad plays with his feet and he’s a quick decision-maker. Being a senior, it makes it special for those guys. They’re playing for each other,” Wright said.

Nate Walker has paced the Trojans with 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns on 101 carries while Kendale Gaddis has 325 yards and two scores on 40 attempts.

Both of those guys have made an impact on defense as well. Walker, a Shrine Bowl selection, leads the team with 76 tackles and six stops for loss while Gaddis has a team-high three interceptions.

Raekwon Smalls (54 tackles), Antonio Bermudez (four sacks) and Chris Moore (two interceptions) are other key players.

“The defensive coaches have done an unbelievable job with our kids. Scheme-wise, they just get it done. We’re healthy, so they give us a chance to win every Friday night,” Wright said.

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