NICHOLASVILLE - The 43-7 loss to East Jessamine was difficult, but Great Crossing football coach Paul Rains saw enough to be encouraged.
“This was a tough team,” Rains said after speaking to his team and then leading them in prayer. “This is the best team East Jessamine has had in 10 years and we were fortunate enough to face them tonight. ”
The Warhawks’ youth and inexperience was on full display as the Jaguars’ ground game amassed enough yardage for three different players to rush for more than 100 yards each. East Jessamine did not punt and the only possession that did not end in a score was a fumble late in the game.
But Great Crossing showed its potential late in the first half putting together a 60-yard drive featuring runs by quarterback Kalib Perry, Levi Whalen and several critical runs by Jakeece Patterson who eventually scored on a 4-yard run.
At one point in the drive the Warhawks faced a fourth-and-one before Patterson plowed through the defense on a 19-yard run to the four yard line. He scored on the next play with about three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half.
That drive showed what the team is capable of doing, Rains said.
“That was a nice drive,” the coach said. “Patterson, a little freshman, he and Levi took it all the way down the field running sweeps and took it in and got a score. The kids were excited about that. Our kids have got a great positive attitude and what more can you ask for in this type of situation. For them to keep a positive attitude the way they have done.”
The Jaguars were almost unstoppable early, leading at halftime 35-7. In the second half East Jessamine moved up and down the field but managed only one additional score.
The team’s inconsistency is another sign of its youth, Rains said.
“That’s what happens when you are so young,” the coach said. "Offensively, we make just enough mistakes between (East Jessamine) playing good defense and us making mistakes that are just drive killers. That’s what happens when you have a young team. They’re going to make mistakes and we’re playing better teams.
"Our fundamentals are missing, but that is also part of being a young team. What we are trying to do is take one step at a time and keep stepping forward. As long as we can progress and the team get better and the fundamentals get better. Our fundamentals are still weak and that’s part of being a young football team. Our tackling, I don’t know how many tackles we missed tonight. But we are right there. Some of its strength. Some of its just maturity and some of it is fundamentals and we work it every day. It will come but it’ll take time.
"Mason Wiley played his butt off and he does it every week,” Rains said. “Trent Allen played really well on defense. Probably one of his better games. The offensive line, we’ve got some freshmen out there, just in general, their blocking is getting better each week. Which is evident in the fact that two weeks in a row now we’ve put together some scoring drives."
"We’ve got some kids that are really giving us a great effort and that’s all we can ask for. All of our kids have a great positive attitude. Tonight was a tough team and we have a tough schedule. But we are coming along.”
The loss dropped Great Crossing to 0-5. East Jessamine improved to 3-2.
The Warhawks host Dunbar next Friday for homecoming.