The Cross High School football team advanced to the third round of the Class A playoffs for the first time since 2019 and is one of four teams remaining in the Lower State.
The Trojans controlled visiting Lake View on Nov. 12 in a second-round matchup at Cross, earning a touchdown pass and running away from quarterback Tyler Mungin in the 21-8 victory. Mungin threw a 31-yard touchdown strike to tight end Damion Haines on a drag route and ran one for seven yards.
“I thought we were the most physical team in football, which is saying a lot because Lake View is known for that,” Cross coach Shaun Wright said. “That’s saying a lot. We played effectively. We played a clean game. We didn’t have many penalties and errors. They were mature throughout the week in their approach to training and it showed in the game.
Crossback running back Carmello Montgomery rushed for 86 yards and scored on a 21-yard scamper for the game’s first shot in the first quarter and teammate Santory Jones added 83 rushing yards.
Coach Wright’s group improved to 10-2 overall and snapped a three-game losing streak against Lake View in the playoffs. The Wild Gators ended the Trojans’ season in 2019, 2017 and 2015 but fell 14-0 in the first half and never led.
Defensively, outside linebackers Karmello Jones and Kriston Moore and defensive lineman Amonte McCray were around the ball all night. Jones had eight total tackles and two sacks. Moore was on five solo tackles and McCray threw four tackles for the loss.
Cross is the Berkeley County School District’s only remaining team. Timberland (29-14 to Andrew Jackson), Cane Bay (19-7 to Sumter) and Goose Creek (55-28 to Carolina Forest) lost their second-round matches on Saturday. Additionally, St. John’s Christian was ousted from the SCISA Class A playoffs with a 28-0 loss at Lee Academy.
Next up for the Trojans is Estill High School in Hampton County.
The Fighting Gators are 11-1 after beating Carvers Bay, 12-6, in the second round. They outlasted Hannah-Pamplico, 60-56, in the first round.
Estill is on a nine-game winning streak and will post a winning season for the first time since 2014 in his last grid campaign. It was a spectacular swansong for the Gators, who will partner with Wade Hampton High School next year to form a new Hampton County High School.
A 12th win would equal the total of the previous four seasons combined.
“This is their last year of existence,” Wright said. “I think every boy at this school takes pride in trying to help Estill play for all of this. They’ve had close playoff games, but it’s about winning and surviving. They are as athletic a team as we have seen at all levels. It’s defense, offense and special teams. They could be as tall as us. We have our work cut out for us.
Cross and Estill haven’t played since 2015, a 36-0 win for Cross. Estill won a game, 16-13, in 2014.
Johnsonville and Lamar meet in the other Lower State semifinal on Friday. Cross would host Lamar but travel to Johnsonville the Friday after Thanksgiving.