The teams traded touchdowns, but it was Hoover which ultimately won 38-32.
Cherokee went on to wrap up pool play with a 2-1-1 record.
Games among Pool C and Pool D teams, which were scheduled to play in the afternoon, were pushed back late into the evening as a result of a long lightning delay.
Since teams in those two pools were unable to get all five games in Friday because of the weather delay, the teams in Pool A and Pool B that played in the morning didn’t count their final game of pool play.
All 32 teams in the qualifier were seeded based on results and placed in the tournament bracket, which begins today. Alpharetta, Hoover, South Cobb and Northview each finished the day 4-0.
The champion of today’s bracket play will advance to next week’s national tournament in Hoover, Ala.
Cherokee opened pool play with 23-all tie against Grayson, then went on to rout Eastside (S.C.) 28-2 prior to its shootout with Hoover. The Warriors closed the day’s action with a win over Heritage-Conyers.
“In the last game (against Hoover), we had a miscommunication, but they have made plays in the earlier games,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “We only have one returning starter in the secondary, and the kids are getting their feet wet and getting better every game.”
Rising senior Spencer Ashley is returning at quarterback after leading the Warriors to a 5-5 season last year and nearly qualifying for the playoffs. He threw many long touchdowns to various targets, including Colton Rozanske, Donte Baker and Andrew Harris.
In Cherokee’s game against Grayson, Brittain Brown got a key interception during an extra-point attempt that prevented the Rams from winning. The pick allowed the game not to get away from Cherokee, after the Warriors had taken an early 23-8 lead.
Creekview went 0-for-4 in pool play, falling to Centennial, Shiloh, Jonesboro and Hillgrove — a narrow win over Duluth was the one not counted to permit an even number of games between the other pools — but coach Terry Crowder said the Grizzlies got stronger and stronger with each game.
“We were rusty and didn’t play early,” Crowder said. “Pool play doesn’t matter as much. It’s how we go out and play (today). We had so many kids who have played baseball, and it takes a while to get into the mold of what we do. Once we get into rhythm, we’ll get better.”