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The Cherokee Middle School Yellow Jackets picked up a big win Thursday night as Brian Pankey's squad traveled to Oliver Springs and downed the Bobcats, 14-0, in a hard-hitting game.
“This was a physical ball game tonight and anytime you can shutout a team like Oliver Springs it's good,” Cherokee head coach Brian Pankey said following the game. “I thought our offensive and defensive line did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage tonight and that was the key.”
Both defenses made plays early as the teams battled to a scoreless tie in the first quarter.
Oliver Springs' first two drives of the night ended in three-and-outs while the Jackets had a good drive going on their first possession, but Bobcat DT Markus Miller recovered a Jacket fumble at the 5 yard line.
Cherokee took the lead on their second drive as the Jackets took advantage of good field position.
Starting from the Bobcats 34 after a punt, Cherokee needed four plays to cover that distance with Malcolm Lane scoring on a four-yard run with 5:39 left in the second period.
Lane also set up the score with a 23-yard run.
Cherokee's two-point try was no good.
After forcing another three-and-out, the Jackets scored again on their next drive.
This drive lasted six plays and covered 34 yards with the touchdown coming on a one yard run from QB Paul Bolden.
Rhett Jones added the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0 with 33.4 seconds left in the first half.
Jones also set up the score with a 30-yard run.
Thirty seconds was almost enough time for Oliver Springs to cut into Cherokee's lead before halftime as Markus Miller threw a 25-yard halfback pass to Brandon Taylor then Derek Tinker added a 15-yard run to move the ball to the Jacket 17.
Two penalties, however, backed the Bobcats up to the 37 and that was a little more than Oliver Springs could cover although Tinker hit Taylor for a 20-yard pickup on the last play of the half.
The second half would see Cherokee having to defend their goal line two more times.
After stopping Cherokee on downs at the Bobcat 22 to start the second half, the Bobcats put together a 15-play drive, but the drive would come up empty as the Jackets took over on downs at the 14 yard line.
Oliver Springs did find the end zone on the drive as Tinker scored on a 50-yard run, but a penalty negated the touchdown.
The Bobcats got one last crack at the end zone late in the fourth quarter, but Cherokee's Logan Jones picked off a pass near the goal line.
Oliver Springs ended the evening with 157 yards of total offense on 31 plays. The Bobcats ran the ball 21 times for 69 yards while they completed 5 of 10 passes for 88 yards.
Cherokee did not attempt a pass on the night, but did pick up 155 yards rushing on 32 attempts. Jones was the workhorse, carrying the ball 16 times for 128 yards.
Cherokee hosts Harriman Thursday night while Oliver Springs travels to Oakdale. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Rushing- Jones 16-128, Lane 7-43 with 1 TD, Bolden 3-2 with 1 TD, Davis 1-(-7), Team 5-(-11).
Oliver Springs Statistics
Rushing- Miller 11-33, Tinker 8-46, Taylor 1-(-8), Team 1-(-2).
Passing- Buck 3-7 for 43 yards, Miller 1-1 for 25 yards, Tinker 1-2 for 20 yards with 1 INT.
Receiving- Taylor 3-60, Morgan 2-28.