Playing on a team full of speedsters, the last thing Jerico Brown thought he'd be known for is Glenn Hills' most memorable 40-yard dash of the season.
But on Friday night, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end-turned running back rumbled 36 yards on a play that might be remembered as "the run that saved a season."
The late fourth-quarter run broke up a defensive battle that lasted nearly 44 minutes and led to the first of Brown's two touchdowns, helping Glenn Hills to a 13-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Cross Creek.
Brown admitted he was nearly "speechless" after the game, offering only a few words. One reason for the lack of postgame chatter could be that Brown was breathless, playing every down on defense and carrying the ball 10 times for 85 yards.
"We've been spot running him all season because he plays defense, but we had some backs nicked up tonight," Glenn Hills coach Ernest Tolbert said of Brown. "He showed plenty of heart and determination tonight."
The victory righted the ship for the Spartans (4-4, 1-2 Region 3B-AAA), who had lost four consecutive games and were coming off of a loss to Thomson that ended prematurely because of fighting.
"Last week's fight was between two guys, and it was blown out of proportion," Tolbert said. "We want tonight's game to show that this is a quality program with class."
For the Razorbacks (7-1, 2-1 Region 3B-AAA), the loss not only broke up a perfect 7-0 start to the season, but it also ended a string of three consecutive shutouts.
"I hope the loss leaves a bad taste in their mouths," Cross Creek coach Scott Tate said of his team.
"We just have to go back to practice Monday and work."
The week of practice will serve as a prelude for next Friday's region tilt between Cross Creek and unbeaten Thomson (7-0-1). Up for grabs is a spot atop the Region 3B-AAA standings.
While Friday's final margin didn't show it, the game was a stalemate for most of the night. The Spartans managed only 177 yards of total offense, but it was enough to beat out the Razorbacks' total of 167.
Both teams threatened on drives into the red zone in the first half, but neither could convert.
Senior Terrance Settle led Cross Creek on offense, carrying the ball 8 times for 35 yards and catching quarterback Emory Wilson's longest completion of the night for 22 yards.
Wilson finished the contest 9-for-19 for 100 yards.
Reach Justin Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLENN HILLS 13, CROSS CREEK 0
GLENN HILLS 0 0 0 13 - 13
CROSS CREEK 0 0 0 0 - 0
GH-JERICO BROWN 2 RUN (JEFF CANNON KICK), 3:27
GH-BROWN 23 RUN (KICK FAILED), 2:02
FIRST DOWNS GH12 CC10
RUSHES-YARDS GH48-138 CC33-67
PASSING YARDS GH39 CC100
COMP.-ATT.-INT. GH3-7-1 CC9-19-2
FUMBLES-LOST GH1-1 CC2-2
PUNTS-YARDS GH5-35.2 CC4-35.3
PENALTIES-YARDS GH6-50 CC5-45
RUSHING-GLENN HILLS: BROWN 10-85, KEVIN DAVENPORT 2-6, JUSTIN LORD 5-12, COLLIN BING 12-28, LONNIE MOORE 5-17, DANNY MACKEY 7-7, TAVARIS MACK 7-7, JEFF CANNON 3-2, MIKE EVANS 3-MINUS 19. CROSS CREEK: PATRICK PROVINCE 13-19, EMORY WILSON 11-11, TERRANCE SETTLE 8-35, AARON CASPER 1-2.
PASSING-GLENN HILLS: CANNON 3-5-1 39, EVANS 0-2-0 0. CROSS CREEK: WILSON 9-19-2 100.
RECEIVING-GLENN HILLS: DAVENPORT 1-14, CHRISTIAN WALKER 1-7, MACKEY 1-18. CROSS CREEK: TERRANCE JONES 2-10, ERIC EITSON 2-25, JARIUS GIBSON 1-10, SETTLE 1-22, PAT WHITE 1-29, PROVINCE 2-4.