Central Crossing: Comets never quit responding to challenges

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Linebacker Max Webb, who heads upfield after making an interception against Reynoldsburg, is expected to be one of the top returnees for the Comets, who finished 2-7.

Central Crossing football coach Trevor White repeatedly praised his players for their resilience this season amid challenges few could have foreseen because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

“There were constant challenges but the kids kept coming and kept coming,” White said. “They didn’t stop competing. They showed up every day.” 

The recurring issue for the Comets, as for some other teams, is they didn’t necessarily know what they were coming toward on a daily or weekly basis. 

Central Crossing finished 2-7 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, lost a chance to compete in its first playoff game since 2015 because of a quarantine and essentially had one day to prepare for two of its final three opponents. 

“That’s a situation where you just have to play football and trust your instincts,” White said. “Those were probably the simplest game plans we ever installed. We had to do what we do and do our best against what (the opponent) showed us.” 

Junior Alec Boyd (QB/RB/DB) filled several important roles, as he ran for 425 yards and five touchdowns on 120 carries and completed 21 of 41 passes for 231 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. 

Boyd played quarterback for much of the second half of the season after senior starter Rudy Risinger was injured in a 32-7 win at Newark on Sept. 18, and he also continued playing as a defensive back. 

Junior Jae’V’On Pass (RB/DB) had 70 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns and senior Kyren Glaze (RB/DB) finished with 211 yards and two touchdowns on 66 carries. 

The Comets started 2-2. They opened with a 7-6 home loss to Grove City on Aug. 28, defeated visiting Lancaster 21-18 on Sept. 4 in their league opener and lost 47-0 at Pickerington Central on Sept. 11 before the win at Newark. 

Central Crossing lost 34-10 to Reynoldsburg on Sept. 25 and 28-24 at Groveport on Oct. 2. Three days later, the Comets were forced into quarantine because of a positive COVID-19 test within the program and had to back out of their Division I, Region 3 first-round playoff game at third-seeded Westerville Central on Oct. 9. 

Central Crossing was seeded 14th in the region and did not return to practice until Oct. 15, one day before a 28-12 home loss to Westerville North. 

The Comets were shut out in their final two games, 14-0 at home by Hamilton on Oct. 23 and 28-0 at Big Walnut on Oct. 30. 

“It’s not normal to leave a game on Friday not knowing your schedule for the next week or end practice Wednesday not knowing who you’re going to play,” White said. “I can’t stress the resilience of our kids enough. There’s a lot they didn’t get to experience this year, but they never quit working.” 

Other key players eligible to return include juniors Braydon Farrell (OL/DL), William Taynor (C/DL) and Max Webb (LB). 

“We hung our hat on our seniors,” White said. “We weren’t able to develop our younger guys the way we normally would. We were robbed of a normal offseason, and the guys know they’ll have to work even harder heading toward next year.”   

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekDave 

FOOTBALL 

•Record: 2-7 overall 

•OCC-Buckeye standings: Pickerington Central (5-0), Groveport (3-1), Central Crossing, Lancaster and Reynoldsburg (all 2-3), Newark (0-4) 

•Seniors lost: Dylan Adams, Shane Baas, Drew Basham, Anthony Blakesley, Freddie Burchett, Jeremy Burns, Jordan Burns, Cameron Clark, Abel Garantche, Kyren Glaze, Jonathan Mathers, Brodie Musto, Tristen Needham, Bryan Ooten-Montiel, Aiden Phipps, Rudy Risinger, Caleb Ross, Tyler Terrell and Nick Tiegler 

•Key returnees: Alec Boyd, Braydon Farrell, Jae’V’On Pass, William Taynor and Max Webb

Senior quarterback Rudy Risinger passes against Pickerington Central on Sept. 11. Risinger was injured in a 32-7 win at Newark on Sept. 18.