John Cross arrived in Norwood at the beginning of August. Traveling all of the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to teach science and coach football for Norwood High School, he’s ready for a great season.
Cross has been a teaching assistant for Louisiana State University the last five years, on and off. He is currently finishing a doctorate program in the sciences, and his life’s work is working with young people, high school and college freshmen.
He took on the head coach position for the Mavericks this year, and he’s no stranger to coaching. In the past, he’s also coached in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he focused on offensive and defensive lines. He described himself a “fundamentals” coach.
He also said he’s about “positivity.” With only roughly 14 people out for the combined Norwood team, which includes a few kids from Nucla and Telluride, Cross is ready to grow the number of players. In fact, even though practices have begun, he said anyone interested in playing should come and speak with him. He said there is something that can be done for latecomers.
He said he understands that high school sports have had a rough go of it because of COVID. He admits last year was tough, and that many people are wondering what this year will look like.
He said he also understands that some kids are dealing with personal injuries at this time. Some are worried to risk the football season if their main sport is basketball or wrestling. He knows kids don’t want to get hurt.
Still, he’s talking with students at Norwood High School now, and he wants to see more of them on the field playing football. He’d like to see the team numbers rise to at least 20 kids.
Last week, the Maverick team had to forfeit their away game due to low numbers. With a COVID scare in Nucla that shut down the West End Schools until Aug. 30, the combined team couldn’t turn out and play their scheduled game against Soroco. This weekend, the boys play Plateau Valley for the first home game of the season, and Cross is planning for that to be a go.
This year, Cross is assisted by NHS math teacher Ben Kirk.
“He’s a tremendous human being and coach,” Cross said.
He’s also assisted by former NHS graduate Austin Overholt, who formerly starred for the Mavericks.
“I like the chemistry between all of us,” he said. “I just wish for more players.”
Cross said he is surrounded by awesome people in Norwood. Now, he is hoping for the best in coaching the sport he loves. Anyone who’s been considering the sport of football should speak with Cross directly. He said now is the time to play.
As of press time on Tuesday, Norwood High School was searching for someone to run the scoreboard for Friday’s game. They also needed an announcer. Anyone interested should contact athletic director Kyle Dinsmore at 970-729-9114.
The district hopes to see the community out and supporting the Mavericks this Friday night.