In a perfect world, teams use the nonregion slate to mature and try to fix mistakes.
For Cross Creek and its fellow Region 2-AAAAA teams, that schedule gets condensed to one game.
The Razorbacks not only moved up to Class AAAAA, but have nine region games this season. After playing Hephzibah this Friday, Cross Creek’s remaining game weeks are full of region foes.
Along with playing with the large Columbia County schools, the Razorbacks are with Richmond Academy and ranked Northside (Warner Robins) and Warner Robins teams, among others.
All this for a team with fewer than 10 seniors.
“We’re a lot younger than we were last year, but these guys really enjoy football,” second-year head coach Robert McCarty said. “They support each other better than they did last year and they hold each other accountable more than they did last year.
“They don’t get down when we’re not winning. They’re going to play four quarters. Whatever the score is, they’re going to be fighting.”
Cross Creek went 3-7 a season ago, with one win coming by a Westside forfeit. McCarty said one problem was the Razorbacks tried to do too much during a season in which they were overwhelmed most weeks. They were shutout four times and allowed at least 30 points in four of six region games.
This year, McCarty said the team has watered things down. Defensively, Cross Creek will use the 3-4 again, but will be more basic in what it does. The plan is to add more as the season continues.
“There were things we assumed that they knew and we took for granted,” McCarty said. “They’re still learning the basics of the game. We did a lot of teaching this summer. We’re really young, but they’re really receptive to learning.”
Offensively, Keshawn Dyson is expected to pick up rushing yards, even when lined up at quarterback, as William Hughley and Chris Williams handle the work on the line.
Hughley, who like Williams plays on both the offensive and defensive lines, thinks the keep-it-simple idea will help a young team as it goes up against strong programs.
“It’s been easier, especially for the younger guys to understand and grasp it,” he said. “They can get it and go.”