One for the thumb

Great Crossing quarterback Gabe Nichols is coming off a game with five touchdown passes against East Jessamine.

In Year 3, the fledgling Great Crossing football team has already equaled its victory total in the Warhawks’ first two seasons combined — four.

Great Crossing second-year coach Ricky Bowling, who assisted as the offensive coordinator during the inaugural season, said the secret sauce isn’t much of a secret. Rather, the Warhawks have stayed the course.

“We have great kids and great coaches, commitment to the weight room and staying true to our vision and the process,” Bowling said. “Ultimately, just keeping our kids focused each week for a new challenge and playing together, preparing like champions day-in and day-out, giving maximum effort in everything we do to become the best version of ourselves.”

The unbeaten Warhawks (4-0) might need the best version of themselves to take the field Friday night in Paris as they face their toughest test yet in the likewise undefeated Bourbon County Colonels (2-0).

“Coach (David) Jones has done a great job developing his team and getting players out,” Bowling said. “They have some dudes that play on both sides that are quick and play extremely hard. They have a lot of offense, which makes it more difficult to prepare for and have guys that can go make plays at any time.”

The Colonels’ backfield features three players averaging at least six carries per game. Bourbon County junior quarterback Clay Estes has completed 20-of-39 passes for 232 yards and two TD without being intercepted.

“We haven’t faced a QB like the Estes kid yet. He seems to be a tough dual-threat quarterback that has played efficient in their two games,” Bowling said.

Jones said the Warhawks’ scouting report starts with senior Kalib Perry, a defensive back and wide receiver who is committed to Tennessee.

“It shows on film how good he is,” Jones said of Perry, who has rushed for a touchdown, picked off a pass and is averaging 4.3 solo tackles per game.

Great Crossing junior quarterback Gabe Nichols is seventh in the state in his class in passing touchdowns (eight), Wide receiver Zackarrey Kelley earned the No. 1 spot recently in an ESPN SportsCenter top-10 highlights package with a touchdown catch in the Warhawks’ 42-6 win last week against East Jessamine.

“They also have a big-time quarterback (Nichols) and their receivers are willing to go after it,” Jones said. “They’ve been playing together for a while, and you can tell it by the big-time senior players that they have.”

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