Keeping a foot on the pedal

Starting linebacker David Cross, junior, has found two passions in high school. 

He found the first during his varsity debut in his sophomore season against Greenbrier in a 35-9 Jaguar victory, ending the night with five tackles and finishing the season with a total of 23 solo tackles and 10 assists. Cross found his second passion in the auto tech garage. 

Enrolling in auto tech class freshman year, Cross’ experiences working with different cars and technologies have not only taught him how to fix and replace a radiator, but he’s also found some other skills. 

“There are so many possibilities that auto tech presents and it has helped me gain important life skills like being able to analyze a problem,” Cross said. 

Cross suffered a minor quad injury early in this season, but that did not stop him from practicing with the team nor from fixing the cars that needed his attention.

“My leg hurt a lot whenever I moved too quickly, but when I was with the team or working on cars the pain was never in my head,” Cross said. 

With his expertise in automobiles, Cross has also been able to support many people in need. Peer leadership teacher Mrs. Katie Baker Johnson has relied on Cross’ talents for her vehicle.      

“My car breaks down pretty often. (Cross) fixed it for me out in auto tech within the afternoon and had it back to me by the end of the day. All around, he is a very reliable person and really great to talk to,” Johnson said.

Linebackers coach Tyler Colquitt admires the character growth that he has witnessed in Cross’ high school career. 

“When I first started coaching (Cross) he was a little timid, and he really didn’t want to be a leader even though he could. This year especially the past two games, he’s really shown leadership skills and the team has rallied upon that,” Colquitt said.

On the field, Cross incorporates his ability to analyze a situation in auto tech to enhance his defensive ability.  Cross currently has 13 solo tackles and has been a part of 22 total tackles in 2019. 

“Being a linebacker, I have to be able to see what the opposing offense is trying to attempt and really just call out the play to my teammates. Being able to analyze a situation with a broken car is kind of the same as finding holes in the offense,” Cross said.   

Though Cross sacrificed taking auto tech at Cedar junior year to enroll in classes at the Athens Community Career Academy, he doesn’t intend on stopping his work as a mechanic.

“I think what I’ve learned about cars and auto tech, in general, will support me in the future if football or whatever else doesn’t quite satisfy me,” Cross said.