Monday, August 20, 2012
The Cross Trojans feel 2012 could be the year to undertake serious Pursuit of the Prize.
With Coach Shaun Wright beginning his fourth year guiding the Men of Troy while his team may lack experience and depth in places, this bunch is dangerous.
“We’re young,” he said. “We have a lot of kids coming back, but we’re not deep. I hope we don’t get hurt.”
“These are the players we will win and lose with.”
The Trojans come off an 8-4 record in 2011 and advanced into the second round of the Class A playoffs, falling to Lake View 38-16.
The Trojans kick off the 2012 season against Class AA’s Kingstree.
“We’ll be ready,” Wright said.
Branford Halls will take over at quarterback this fall and keys a powerful offense with many scoring weapons.
“We have full confidence in him that he will get the job done,” Wright said. “We just hope to keep him healthy because we don’t have many options as a back-up at this time.”
Wright tabbed Malik Gooding, Taurus Nelson, and Greg Jones as the guys the Trojans will depend on up front that have been leaders throughout the summer.
“We also have the entire backfield back. However most of those guys ran summer track, so we had to share a couple of them.”
Defensively Olin Pinckney returns at linebacker along with Devante Shepherd who also is the Trojans’ returning ground gainer. Shepherd, along with Halls, are emerging as the next premier football players to come out of the Cross program, following in Frazier’s footsteps as the first Trojan football player under Wright’s tutelage to move on to play college football.
“They have the look for sure,” Wright said.
Three new assistant coaches have been added to the Trojan staff this fall including former Timmonsville head coach Jimmy Woods who will serve as co-defensive coordinator.
“This will be Jimmy’s second stint at Cross,” Wright said. Woods will also coach the defensive tackles.
Also new on board is former Berkeley Stag product Denario Smalls who transfers to Cross from Lakewood High School who will coach running backs and strong safeties, and Keith Williams who joins the Trojans after coaching at Scotland High School in North Carolina. Williams will work with the offensive line and defensive ends.
Wright’s goal has been to go deep in the playoffs, and this year’s edition of the Trojans are as strong as any team he’s had to do that. In preparation for the Region 6A schedule, Wright loads up on the heavy hitters during the non-region portion of his schedule playing defending Class AA state champ Kingstree, Timberland and Lake Marion right off the bat.
“Our schedule is the toughest since I have been here but we won’t make any excuses. We expect to win our share of games but injuries will be more critical this year than any since I have been here because we simply aren’t a deep team. Our starters are as good as you will get in certain spots but we just don’t have enough of them.”