This edition proved to be a thriller, with Cherokee dominating the fourth quarter and taking a 38-28 victory over visiting Sequoyah.
Cherokee quarterback Spencer Ashley connected with receiver Armony Parker on the right side of the field for a 40 yard touchdown that proved to be the decisive play in the contest. Parker broke multiple tackles and fought to stay in bounds on the play, which gave Cherokee (1-10) a 31-28 lead with 8:34 remaining in the game.
“I had to get to the end zone,” Parker said. “I just kept moving. I wanted the end zone so bad.”
Parker led the Warriors with four catches for 64 yards. Ashley finished the game completing 13 of 21 passes for 177 yards.
The game certainly started in Cherokee’s favor, when junior Treyvon Simmons took the opening kickoff 75 yards to the end zone, putting the Warriors up 7-0 just 11 seconds into the first quarter. Simmons left the game late in the first half with what an apparent ankle injury.
Sequoyah (1-1) answered later in the quarter, when quarterback Lex Lauletta found Nick Falco wide-open in the back of the end zone for a 19-yard scoring pass, leveling the game at 7-all with just over 6 minutes left in the first period.
Tailback Blake Ingleton, coming off a 297-yard performance at River Ridge, picked up where he left off last week, gaining 128 yards in the first half, including a 5-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14 midway through the second quarter.
Ingleton, who finished with 207 yards on 24 carries, also scored on a 73-yard reception later in the first half.
Cherokee’s Cesar Mijangos connected on a 20-yard field goal to close the first half, putting the Warriors up 24-21 heading into the locker room.
Sequoyah took its first lead of the game on a 10-yard run by Ingleton, but Cherokee’s defense would tighten its grip on the game in the fourth quarter. Lauletta was intercepted twice by Blace Brown and once by Brady Sandercock to seal the victory for Cherokee.
“We can’t make mistakes late in a game by committing turnovers and throwing interceptions,” Sequoyah coach James Teter said. “That’s what happened. We missed opportunities in the second half. We had a chance to go up by two scores in the third quarter, and we turned the ball over.
“Thankfully, we have two weeks to prepare for our next game, and we need to learn from these mistakes.”
After Parker’s acrobatic run-after-catch in the fourth quarter, Cherokee’s Hunter Wingfield put the icing on the cake with a 50-yard touchdown run with just over 5 minutes remaining.
“We put forth a lot of effort in strength and conditioning during this summer,” said Cherokee coach Josh Shaw, who earned the first victory of is head-coaching career after previously working as the lead assistant at Etowah. “We executed and we outlasted our opponent.”
Friday’s win was just the seventh for Cherokee in 19 meeting with its cross-county rival.
“Any time you win a rivalry game like this, it’s great for the community” Shaw said.