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Undefeated Holy Cross keeping bigger goals in mind

Photo: Kin Man Hui /San Antonio Express-News

Shortly after Holy Cross coach Mike Harrison returned to his office following a 28-26 victory over Boerne last Thursday, he began writing a note to his team.

The Knights had just staved off the Greyhounds — who had already scored big wins over Devine and Medina Valley — in an emotional game.

Although Holy Cross had improved to 3-0, Harrison wanted to make sure his players put the victory in perspective.

 

“I told them do not let Thursday night be the high point of their season,” Harrison said. “I wanted them to be happy with it. I want them to be proud of what they did. … It was such an emotional win. Can they handle that? I don’t know.”

Against Boerne, the Knights went up 15-0 in the first quarter before the Greyhounds stormed back for three straight touchdowns to take a 20-15 lead in the third quarter. Holy Cross answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jay Nava and a 9-yard TD catch by E.J. Perez. The Knights withstood a late score to record the victory.

Harrison will get an idea of how his team can handle the challenge of focusing following a big win when Holy Cross plays at Hondo on Friday.

There are indications that may not be a problem.

“That night we enjoyed it and the next day we came back to work and forgot all about it,” senior safety Austin “Tex” Gonzalez said. “We ran, we lifted and we started getting ready for Hondo.”

The Knights have been on the go since Ethan Lara returned the opening kickoff of the season 89 yards for a score against Class 5A Lanier. That led to a 33-0 victory. Holy Cross followed with a 47-6 win against perennial area 3A power Blanco. Then came the victory against Boerne, which is expected to challenge for the UIL District 14-4A Division I championship.

For Holy Cross, a TAPPS Division II member located on the West Side, that is as good as Harrison could have ever expected.

“I am really proud of our efforts,” Harrison said. “The kids played so hard. We’re like any other team. We haven’t hit our best play yet, but we’re doing some good things.”

Holy Cross has garnered some attention with the win over Boerne. The Knights moved to No. 8 in the Express-News Area Sub-6A rankings and No. 9 in the TAPPS D-II state rankings.

“A win like that helps our program,” said senior Joseph Pena, who plays on the offensive and defensive lines. “We’re getting a lot more attention from the media. I think people are noticing we can play with these heavy-hitting teams.”

Gonzalez said the Knights can’t place too much importance on one victory.

“It brought a lot of attention to us,” Gonzalez said. “My teammates and I think this is just another stepping-stone to where we want to get to. Our goal is state.”

Although the Knights have won five straight district championships, they are rarely the main topic of conversation when it comes to San Antonio private school football, playing in the shadow of Antonian and Central Catholic, which are TAPPS Division I members.

The Knights’ hot start is changing that. Do they care?

Well, yes and no — mostly no.

“There’s a part of us, just as human beings, you want to think you are up there with everybody,” Harrison said. “But, realistically, that hasn’t been the driving issue for us. The driving issue for us is whether we can be as good as we can be.”

Gonzalez added: “It doesn’t matter to us. Antonian and Central have always had the glory over the years. We like to stay silent and work hard and let our pads do the talking on the field.”

Harrison said he knew the Knights had the foundation for a highly successful season. Holy Cross returned nine starters on each side of the ball. In reality, there are 12 returning starters on defense, since three were lost to injuries a year ago.

“That gave us the idea that this could be a special team, but I don’t know how special we are going to be,” Harrison said. “I’ll put it to you this way: We have a lot of room to grow.”

dhinojosa@express-news.net

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Holy Cross of San Antonio426 N. San Felipe StreetSan Antonio, TX  78228

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