Cross Creek coach Travis Nixon might not like to wait – who does? – but he knew the building process would take a few years.
“I’m not that patient,” Nixon said with a chuckle. “I want it now.”
The Razorbacks have had only two winning seasons since the school was established in 1999.
After going 8-3 in 2007, Cross Creek went a combined 6-24 the next three years, including a 1-9 struggle in 2010.
That was Nixon’s first season as the head coach, though he knew success wouldn’t start immediately.
Instead, he envisioned a better second season, when Cross Creek would beat the teams it’s supposed to beat. The next year, Nixon hopes the Razorbacks are competitive against the best teams and maybe upset one.
A little more than halfway through the 2011 season, the Razorbacks seem to be fulfilling Nixon’s Year 2 expectations. They are 3-3, which is the best start since they were 7-0 to begin the 2007 campaign.
The offense, even with injuries, has been a major reason for the victories, as Cross Creek beat Josey 42-40, Harlem 42-0 and Glenn Hills 20-19.
Quarterback Mikey Savelio threw for almost 350 yards in the win against the Eagles while running backs Kenny Brown and Ka’Darrius Walker have led the ground game.
Cross Creek got its three wins despite starting offensive linemen dealing with a neck strain, and a broken hand. Receiver Shayne Coleman was also sidelined with a collarbone injury. Offensive line coach Will Smith said the injuries forced some players to get “baptized by fire.”
The Razorbacks, who hope to have everyone back soon, have persevered and have scored 42 more points than they did all last year.
But the defense isn’t there yet. Nixon has noticed players are tackling by reaching instead of trying for a collision.
“The problem is bad, but it’s good I know what it is,” Nixon said.
With only four seniors Nixon is optimistic defensive improvement will come next season if not this year.
The coach also said while confidence is a problem, Darius Holbrook is setting an example by being aggressive, particularly with blocking. The coach summed up Holbrook’s play by saying he “wears a hard hat.”
This Friday, Cross Creek visits Burke County, a team Nixon hopes his program starts to resemble.
Though a win this week would be like a Cinderella Story, Nixon also said he has already seen growth and anticipates more.
“It’s turning, it’s turning,” Nixon said. “When I took this job, it wasn’t to be the best in Augusta. I want to be one of the top teams like Burke County, Washington County and Thomson, teams I aspire to be competitive with.”