The teams have faced off 18 times since Sequoyah launched its football program in 1990. Since then, the Chiefs have held a decided advantage, with 12 wins over the Warriors, including five of the last six meetings.
The series, however, went dormant in 2010 and ’11, with Sequoyah forced to fill its schedule entirely with region games in the former Region 7AAAA.
Realignment, however, opened up a place for the Chiefs to again schedule Cherokee for a regular-season matchup.
After watching his team get off to a stuttering start in its opener against Creekview, Cherokee coach Josh Shaw hopes to see his team’s performance improve in another home game.
“We just had a lack of execution across the board last week,” the first-year Warriors coach said. “We had way too many mental errors. We can’t afford to keep shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Shaw hopes the Warriors’ offense will be able to find a rhythm against Sequoyah, something they failed to do against Creekview.
“We just want to get the offense in gear this week,” Shaw said. “We had a lot of blown assignments against Creekview. We’ve been executing well in practice this week, and that needs to translate onto the field.”
In order to slow a Sequoyah offense that scored 44 points last week against River Ridge, Shaw has been emphasizing completing tackles in practice.
“Sequoyah runs a Wing-T offense, which means that we’ll see a lot of motion and misdirection,” Shaw said. “That means that, when we get to the guy who has the ball, we have to bring him down.”
Shaw feels the defensive line, led by Nick Ragsdale and Tunde Ayinla, will have to work extra hard to stop Sequoyah’s Blake Ingleton, who rushed for 297 yards last week.
Shaw also professed his confidence in Cherokee’s talent at the skill positions.
“If we get the ball into the hands of our top athletes, we’ll be all right,” he said.
Despite his team’s big win last week, Sequoyah coach James Teter felt the Chiefs (1-0) didn’t turn in a consistent performance, which is something he feels they must do if they want to beat Cherokee (0-1).
“Though we won big, we had a lot of lapses last week on both sides of the ball,” Teter said. “We didn’t play an entire four quarters.”
Despite Sequoyah’s success on the ground, Teter insisted that the Chiefs will run their offense based on Cherokee’s defensive alignment.
“Ingleton is good, but I’m sure that Cherokee is thinking the exact same thing,” Teter said. “If he has room, then we’ll give the ball to him, but what we do offensively depends on what they try and do to us.”
Teter’s biggest concern is how to stop the Warriors’ spread offense.
“They’re pretty good at what they do, and, each week, they are going to get better at it,” he said. “We’ve just been working on our coverage a bit more and making sure our kids understand our schemes.
“Besides that, I’ve been praying.”
Aside from his worries over Cherokee’s offense, Teter was satisfied with his team’s preparation for the game.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” he said. “The kids have been paying attention and putting in the hard work that was needed. Our focus has improved as a result. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for them.”