Cross Creek scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including two in the game’s final minutes, to crush South Effingham’s dreams of an undefeated season with a 27-21 win Friday night.
Razorbacks coach Scott Tate used a little trickery for the final score. Quarterback Keenan Grissett handed the ball off to Jerrek Watson, who threw a wobbly 20-yard pass to Eric Eitson in the corner of the end zone with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
“We had to go all out. We had to score to win,” Tate said. “We just threw everything we had at them.”
SEHS coach Greg Manior said he was concerned about the Razorbacks’ athleticism coming into the game.
“Cross Creek wanted it. They came in here and took it,” he said. “I knew watching film and getting a look at them, that they were big, tall and rangy. Their quarterback threw the ball well and their guys came down with it. It was hard to match up with them with their size and speed, but we did what we could.”
The score culminated an 80-yard march that saw Cross Creek (4-0) convert a fourth-and-5 deep in its own territory.
On the Razorbacks 25-yard line, Grissett hit Terrance Jones with a 25-yard pass. He hooked up with Jones again later on the drive with a 39-yard pass to put Cross Creek in the red zone.
Despite the late score, South Effingham (3-1) did not give up.
The Mustangs took advantage of a squib kick to start their final drive on their own 38-yard line. On third and 10, quarterback Jeff Hamilton completed a 12-yard pass to Frank Manker. A roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the Razorback 35-yard line.
Hamilton gave it one final heave into the end zone, but Eitson leaped up for the interception.
Cross Creek racked up 214 yards in the air, including 180 in the second half. The Razorbacks rushed for 202 yards for a combined 416 yards of total offense.
South Effingham moved the ball well on the ground, picking up 235 yards. Gage Marks led the attack with 144 yards. Frank Manker pitched in 51 yards, Hamilton ran for 28 and Jace Daley picked up 13.
Cross Creek struck first with 7:24 remaining in the first quarter, taking advantage of great field position after Emery Wilson intercepted Hamilton’s pass on the second play of the game.
The Razorbacks drove 44 yards and scored when Patrick Province ran in from 4 yards out.
With 23 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Mustangs got on the board when Gage Marks rumbled 36 yards to the end zone. He also ran in for two points after the touchdown.
The Mustangs’ next score came with 7:14 left in the third quarter when Hamilton ran 20 yards on a keeper. Chris Zittrouer kicked the extra point to make it 15-6.
Cross Creek answered when Grisset hit Jones with a 4-yard pass with 11:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks went for two, but Grisset’s pass fell incomplete.
First downs 16 8
Rushes-Yards 41-202 33-235
Passing Yards 214 24
Passes 17-27 4-15-3
Total Yards 416 259
Penalties 9-93 3-35
Punts 4-15.1 4-34.8
Fumbles/lost 1/1 1/1
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot.
CCHS 6 0 0 21 27
SEHS 6 0 0 6 21
CCHS — Patrick Province 4 run (kick blocked) 7:24
SEHS — Gage Marks 36 run (Marks run) :23
SEHS — Jeff Hamilton 20 run (Chris Zittrouer kick) 7:14 3 Fourth quarter
CCHS — Terrance Jones 4 pass from Keenan Grissett (pass failed) 11:07
SEHS — Frank Manker 32 run (kick failed) 8:27
CCHS — Patrick Province 7 run (Eric Eitson pass from Grissett) 4:43
CCHS — Eric Eitson 20 pass from Jerrek Watson (kick good)
CCHS — Patrick Province 21-142, Keenan Grissett 16-48, Emory Wilson 4-12. SEHS — Gage Marks 18-144, Frank Manker 8-51, Jeff Hamilton 4-28, Jace Daley 3-13.
CCHS — Grissett 16-26-0, 190, Jerrek Watson 1-1-0, 24. SEHS — Hamilton 4-15-3, 24.
CCHS — Terrence Jones 4-74, Wilson 4-61, Eric Eitson 4-50, Team 5-29. SEHS — Daley 2-13, Manker 2-11.