Tough bunch to break

Tre Combs, left, and Oryend Fisher, right, have helped anchor a run-smothering effort by the Great Crossing defense so far this football season.

Even if Great Crossing football players and coaches didn’t verbalize it at first out of respect to their opponents, it wasn’t hard to read between the lines and discern that the Warhawks planned to be 5-0 heading into district play next month.

Friday’s homecoming game furnishes a golden opportunity to take the fourth step. Great Crossing will host East Jessamine (0-3) at Birds Nest Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

You can listen to the game at news-graphic.com or watch on NFHS Network.

Last week’s installment stretched the Warhawks with size and athleticism they hadn’t yet seen staring across the line of scrimmage this season. It took a last-minute defensive stand for GC to hold off Class 6A Henry Clay, 19-13, in its first foray away from home.

Even after having their backs to the wall, GC still has a presence near the top of every major team of individual defensive category in 5A.

Junior defensive end Oryend Fisher leads the state in both quarterback sacks (4½) and tackles for loss (9½). Fisher ranks No. 12 in tackles per game with 10.7.

Charging in from the other side, senior Will Frazier has forced more fumbles (four) than any other defender in the division, and his three sacks are tied for third.

As a team, only consensus No. 1 Frederick Douglass has surrendered fewer points per game than Great Crossing’s 7.3. Three opponents have combined for two touchdowns, two field goals and a safety.

GC flaunts the top-ranked rushing defense in the state, having allowed a grand total of an even 100 yards to this point. The Warhawks’ 11½ sacks also lead that category, and five fumble recoveries are second-most in 5A.

All that said, East Jessamine enters the fray having put up points and kept it close at home in its first two contests. Bourbon County (27-20) and Rockcastle County (22-21) escaped with those wins. Last week, the Jaguars absorbed a loss against COVID-19. East Jessamine was forced to forfeit to Shelby County.

Justin Hisle (15-for-34, 240 yards, three touchdowns) and Tajii Jackson (30 rushes, 168 yards, two TD) are the stars in East Jessamine’s backfield. 

GC looks to avenge a 43-7 loss in Nicholasville two years ago.

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