Travis Nixon and Cross Creek hope their time has finally come for a playoff berth.
The Razorbacks coach is entering his third year after he improved the program from 1-9 in 2010 to 5-5 last season. It was just the third time in school history Cross Creek didn’t have a losing season.
Now Nixon wants another breakthrough for the Razorbacks, who will compete in a Class AAAA subregion against state champion Burke County, Butler, Glenn Hills, Hephzibah and Richmond Academy.
“We have to continue to build off of last year. We set the bar to get into the playoffs,” he said. “I can say that I set our goals to be No. 2 (in the subregion), but I would like for us to be the top team on that side. If anybody else is fighting for anything less than that, then I don’t know what to say about how they set their goals.”
The defense could be the key for Cross Creek – a change from last season when the offense led the way.
Cross Creek reached 30 points four times in 2011, averaging nearly 15 points more than the previous season behind a solid passing attack.
The offense will look different this year, with Nixon handling the play-calling duties.
“In a way, just the challenge of it, I’m looking forward to it. It’s fun,” Nixon said. “But me, I want to be a game manager, a practice manager. That way I can do different things. Now I have to be so caught up with the offense.”
The senior class knows it has to lead the younger players coming up from the junior varsity ranks. The veterans hope maturity keeps the Razorbacks from getting stuck on names.
Some players brought up the disappointing showings against Butler and Burke County as games where the hype beat them. In those two games, Cross Creek was outscored 128-13.
To make the playoffs, Nixon’s bunch will have to measure up better against playoff-bound teams.
“We got to let them know, no matter who we play, they sweat just like us,” senior Lee Hemrick said.