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Cross fuels comeback

Maybe it was the rain, or the mud, or the wind. But none of the players or coaches will say it was.

Maybe it was the rivalry. That’s more likely the answer.

Whatever it was really had the Parkland football team in a funk last Friday night. The Trojans faced their first deficit of the season, down 8-0 and 14-13 to Whitehall before senior quarterback Devante Cross led the charge in a comeback for a 42-28 win at Parkland School District stadium.

“You want to get the ball in the hands of a guy who can make plays,” said head coach Jim Morgans. “He wasn’t doing it all by himself. The line was making some blocks and guys were making catches, but Devante was outstanding tonight.”

The conditions weren’t great for anyone, but it seemed to bother the Trojans more early in the game as they started off slow in the first quarter.

A high snap on a punt landed out of their end zone for a safety. Then, early in the second quarter, Zephyrs quarterback Gianni Sinatore scored from three yards out to give Whitehall an 8-0 advantage and shock the sparse crowd that braved the environment. The Trojans then went three and out on their first three possessions.

But Cross began to take over and bring his team back into the game. He had the first of his five rushing touchdowns midway through the second quarter to get the Trojans on the board. He then found Yeboah for the two-point conversion.

But then just as Parkland was in position to take the lead, Sinatore found Dezmond Boykin for a 67-yard score.

And then Cross wouldn’t be denied, he rushed in from 11 yards out to give Parkland its first lead at 15-14 with a little over a minute until halftime.

Cross accounted for all six Trojans touchdowns in leading the comeback effort. He finished with146 yards on 29 carries and five touchdowns. He also threw for 277 yards and a score as Parkland remained unbeaten at 5-0 overall, 3-0 in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference games.

“I just did whatever I had to do to help the team win,” Cross said. “The weather was terrible. The field is wet, muddy. Coach just called my number, and I did what I had to do to help us, and we showed that we’re a resilient team that can fight through adversity.”

Morgans knew his team was going to be tested against a Whitehall team that beat the Trojans last year, but wasn’t nearly as strong after losing 20 of 22 starters from a year ago.

Cross earned the game’s Joe Gerencser MVP award, which goes to the top player in the Parkland-Whitehall game each season.

The Trojans now have the toughest stretch of their schedule in the next three weeks. Parkland travels to Liberty and Easton followed by a home tilt against Freedom.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBDevante Cross ran for five touchdowns and threw for another to earn this year's Joe Gerencser Award. Copyright - DONHERB