Rising force

Great Crossing football's confidence continues to rise. The two fingers raised on each hand by Jerrius Patterson (3) symbolize back-to-back wins after Friday's 42-7 thumping of Western Hills.

FRANKFORT - Coming off of its first win of the season last week against Montgomery County, Great Crossing football was looking to replicate that magic again this week, and they did so in dominating fashion. 

Great Crossing ripped open a close game in the third quarter for a 42-7 victory over Western Hills, forcing a total of six turnovers, two of which went back for touchdowns.

Last season, the Warhawks (2-3, 1-1 district) had all of just one win. In two weeks' time, Great Crossing has doubled that pleasure with a chance to make more noise in the coming weeks. 

"Defense, I have got to give them a lot of glory right there. They're playing lights out right now," Warhawks' head coach Ricky Bowling said.

GC's two wins are by a combined 86-15. It has forced 11 turnovers and taken four back for touchdowns. The 'Hawks have five defensive scores in the past three weeks. 

Great Crossing prepared all week for a game against Frederick Douglass, which eventually was postponed due to COVID-19.

Bowling said that it took Great Crossing a bit to get used to, and figure out, Western Hills' defensive scheme, which is why the Warhawks got off to such a slow start. 

Western Hills struck first via a 10-yard run up the middle by Jeff Parker. The Wolverines kept that momentum and simply didn't let Great Crossing create much on the offensive side of the ball in the first period.

The tide turned when Jake Broughton hit Kalib Perry in-stride for a 48-yard touchdown pass to even things up at 7 late in the second quarter. 

Broughton had three total touchdowns on the night, throwing for 80 yards and two scores, while running for 50 more, including the final TD with 37 seconds left in the game. 

Caleb Shively intercepted Western Hills on the next drive, taking it 85 yards to the house to give Great Crossing a full momentum swing heading into the second half.

"That was worse than conditioning, I have never been that gassed in my life," Shively, a senior, said of the runback. "It's a no-fly zone around here." 

Following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Wolverines at the end of the first half, the Warhawks got the ball to start the second half in prime field position, leading to a Casey Fain touchdown run from nine yards out and a 21-7 lead.

Immediately on Western Hills' next drive, Drake Byrd joined the turnover party, jumping in front of a Western Hills pass for Great Crossing's fourth takeaway of the night.

Byrd's interception was followed by Perry making his second house-call of the night on a 60 yard touchdown run. Perry finished well over 100 all-purpose yards.

The Great Crossing defense again quickly forced another Western Hills turnover, this time taking it back for six for the second defensive touchdown of the night.

Peyton Harris, who already had an interception earlier, scooped a fumble and scored to put the Warhawks up 35-7, all but ending the game early in the third quarter. 

Perry said Great Crossing's defensive success is attributed to the Warhawks taking practice seriously and treating their practices as real games.

"If you go into practice lackadaisical, then you're going to play games lackadaisical," the junior two-way star said. 

The finishing manuever was a Jarvae Wray interception as the Wolverines were knocking on the door, attempting to score their first points since the opening minutes. 

"Obviously winning is fun, and we're enjoying it right now," Bowling said of his team's two-game streak. "We're a young team maturing every day, every day staying to what we do." 

Great Crossing also looks to be favored next week at home against Grant County. The Warhawks landed their only win of the season last year against the Braves.

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