One thing the Warriors should feel comfortable about is their surroundings since they will be playing their first game this season at Tommy Baker Field. With an offense that is putting up an average of 43.5 points per game thus far, even Cherokee coach Josh Shaw admits the team is feeling pretty good about playing in front of its home fans.
Still, he knows it will take more than an energy-packed environment to fuel the Warriors tonight.
North Forsyth, which began the 2012 campaign 3-0, finished its season with seven straight losses. The Raiders brought in a new coach, Jason Galt, who seems to have them on track.
Having beaten Forsyth Central and Dawson County by identical scores of 31-0, the Raiders should also be feeling pretty confident.
“Any time that you can outscore your opponents (a combined) 62-0, it’s an attention-getter,” Shaw said. “There is a lot to be said for that.”
One thing working in Cherokee’s favor is that it’s played a higher caliber of teams thus far. Meanwhile, both of Class AAAAAA North Forsyth’s wins came against teams from lower classifications.
“I’m sure they are riding high right now,” Shaw said. “They have yet to be scored on, so it will be a big challenge for our offense.”
Cherokee will continue to look to some of the same players who have carried the team thus far.
Brothers Blace and Brittain Brown will continue to play both ways, Blake Johnston will drive the ground game and quarterback Spencer Ashley will put the ball in the hands of his receivers.
Shaw feels tonight’s game will be won or lost in the trenches.
“Our defensive line is going to have to really rise to the occasion,” he said. “Their offensive line is big and strong and powerful. They run a unique style of offense, so we are going to have our hands full there.”
Defensively, North Forsyth won’t be a pushover either.
“We need to make sure that we are taking care of our responsibilities,” Shaw said. “They are a power football team and they are going to control the clock and not make mistakes. They are a good, hard-nosed football team.”
The Warriors will be down at least one player as safety Griffin Moon suffered a high ankle sprain against Sequoyah last week. He will be replaced at safety by Brittain Brown and Dewayne Tiller.
Brown replaced Moon during the Sequoyah game and came up with an interception, leading Shaw to believe the Warriors could definitely do worse than putting him back out there against North Forsyth.
“(Brown) is a pretty good player,” Shaw said. “He makes coaches look good.”