Typically teammates, but split up for the Cherokee County School District Senior Bowl, Cherokee’s Michael Bean (34) and Spencer Ashley speak before Thursday night’s inaugural game at Etowah. Bean’s White team had the edge, racing out to a lead in the first half.
Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter
WOODSTOCK — The White team may have put more points on the scoreboard, but there were no losers in Thursday night’s inaugural Cherokee County School District Senior Bowl at Etowah.
White won the game 35-16, with the Red team only putting points on the board in the third of four 10-minute quarters.
Etowah quarterback Robbie Knox played for the White team and took advantage of having some of the county’s top receivers at his disposal. Knox was 9-for-13 passing for 179 yards and three touchdowns, on his way to being named the game’s most valuable player.
Knox said Cherokee’s Andrew Harris made him look good on a couple of plays, including a 62-yard touchdown on his first throw of the game.
“It was nice,” Knox said. “He’s a good player and easy to throw to.”
Knox wasn’t the only player from the White team to shine. The team’s second quarterback, Woodstock’s Justin Agner, was nearly as impressive.
Agner started the game and led the White team to its first touchdown on a 44-yard pass to Harris. Agner, who also threw a touchdown pass to Woodstock teammate Garrett Atkinson in the fourth quarter, finished the game 12-for-16 for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
Harris went on to finish the game with seven catches for 150 yards and was named the game’s offensive MVP.
Woodstock’s Josh Loud caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Knox to close the first-half scoring, while River Ridge’s Michael Lewis made the final score of the game on a 32-yard pass from Knox.
While the White team profited from its passing, its running game did little. Four players carried the ball for a combined 40 yards.
Etowah’s Dave Svehla, who coached the White team, said it’s the only time he has led a team with more than 300 passing yards and so few rushing yards.
“The last time I did that would be never,” he said. “It’s fun to watch, and I learned some things this week from some really good coaches.”
Svhela enjoyed coaching players like Harris and Agner, who he previously had to coach against.
“You watch them on film, you watch them on the field, and they scare you to death,” he said. “Then, to have them on your team, it’s fun to watch them play. They are just really good football players. They thrive on opportunities like this to go out and play against each other one more time.”
The Red team, which gained Creekview’s Trey Peppers from the White team’s roster early in the week, didn’t have as many options for Cherokee quarterback Spencer Ashley to target.
Ashley, who set the county’s career passing record this season, was just 6-of-19 for 94 yards. He nearly equaled that total on the ground by rushing for 72 yards on 13 carries.
Ashley, the Red team’s lone quarterback, complete one touchdown pass, a 23-yard link with Creekview’s B.J. Smith in the third quarter.
The Red team also scored on a 3-yard run by Sequoyah’s Stephan Anderson, which was set up by a 62-yard interception return by Woodstock’s Sharrone Gates, who was named the game’s defensive MVP.
The Red team also added a safety to its total when the White team was flagged for holding in the end zone.
Each of the game’s three quarterbacks threw a pass that was intercepted by his high school teammate — Agner by Gates, Knox by Caleb Barden-Street and Ashley by Asher Davis.
Cherokee’s Josh Shaw, who coached the Red team, said it was fitting that the quarterbacks were intercepted by players familiar with them.
“That’s what’s unique about this team,” he said. “The way we had it drafted and had the teams was great. It was a great time, and I hope these kids remember it.”
Etowah’s Noah Weber and Cherokee’s Gary Dubiel were perfect in their point-after attempts. Sequoyah’s Austin Williams, Cherokee’s Jamori Fox and Creekview’s Zach Chester were among those who recovered fumbles.
Gates said his favorite part of the game was getting to put a couple of hits on his teammate, Loud, who was typically off limits during practices at Woodstock.
“He was talking all trash on me the whole week,” Gates said, “so I laid it to him.”
Svehla said it was impressive that both coaching staffs were able to organize their players with only a few hours of practice.
“I thought the coaches did a tremendous job on both sides of the ball,” Svehla said. “I think it shows that there are great coaches in this county, and there is a reason that this county is a challenger during the season and is going to be on a regular basis.”