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The Cherokee Yellow Jackets ran their season record to 4-0 Thursday night with an impressive 40-12 victory at Rockwood.
“Rockwood is a very physical football team,” Cherokee head coach Brian Pankey said after the game. “My hat's off to Coach (Scott) Harvey and his staff. This was our toughest test since the preseason and it was good for us. We're in the meat of our schedule now and I like where we're at.”
Thursday's victory was also a bit of sweet revenge for the Jackets, as Rockwood beat Cherokee twice last season with the second victory coming in the Clinch Valley Conference championship game.
“They've beat us two straight years and twice last year so this one was a little sweet for us,” Pankey said.
Like they've done all season, Cherokee jumped out to a quick start as they scored on each of their first two possessions.
The Jackets first score came on a 57-yard run from FB Austin Davis. Davis run capped a 2-play, 60-yard drive.
Maurice Lane added the 2-point conversion to give the Jackets an 8-0 lead with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Cherokee's second drive was also quick as the Jackets needed just 3 plays to cover 78 yards. Davis opened the drive with a 57-yard run and Preston Edmonds ended the drive with a 17-yard run.
QB Paul Bolden passed to Cody Mitchell for the conversion that made the score 16-0 with 6:28 left in the second quarter.
Rockwood cut the gap to 10 points on their next possession as the Tigers drove 65 yards in 5 plays with Corbin Van Patten scoring from 35 yards out to make the score 16-6 with 4:22 left in the half.
Rockwood's 2-point try was no good.
Rockwood, however, could get no closer as Cherokee answered with a 9-play, 59-yard scoring drive that made the score 22-6. Davis scored the touchdown on a 6-yard run with 1:19 left in the half.
Cherokee's 2-point try was no good.
After recovering a fumble three plays later, Cherokee had just enough time to find the end zone again as Edmonds scored on an electrifying 38-yard run on the last play of the half.
Cherokee's 2-point try failed, making the score 28-6 at halftime.
“Preston Edmonds made a great run right there,” Pankey said. “That one probably took a lot out of them.”
Rockwood did stay in the game with a quick scoring drive on their first possession of the third quarter. The drive lasted just 2 plays and covered 68 yards with Logan Abbott scoring on a 66-yard run.
Rockwood's conversion failed, leaving the score 28-12 with 3:47 left to play in the third quarter.
The Tigers wouldn't score again, however, as Cherokee scored twice in the final period to put the game away.
Cherokee's first scoring drive lasted 11 plays and covered 56 yards with Bolden scoring on a 1 yard run.
The conversion failed.
The second drive lasted just one play as Lane raced 62 yards for a score.
The conversion was again no good, making the final score 40-12.
Cherokee ended the night with 398 yards of total offense on 36 plays. Most of that yardage came on the ground as the Jackets rushed for 381 yards on 34 carries.
Davis led the way with 173 yards and 2 TDs on 11 carries while Lane (10-126, 1 TD) and Edmonds (10-82, 2 TDs) also put up big numbers.
Rockwood ended the evening with 205 yards of offense on 30 plays. The Tigers rolled up 195 yards on the ground on 26 carries.
Van Patten led the way with 125 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries while Abbott chipped in 79 yards and 1 TD on 5 carries.
Both teams return to action Thursday as Cherokee hosts Robertsville while Rockwood takes on Clinton at Civitan Field.
Rushing- Davis 11-173 with 2 TDs, Edmonds 10-82 with 2 TDs, Lane 10-123 with 1 TD, Bolden 3-0 with 1 TD.
Passing- Bolden 1-2 for 17 yards.
Receiving- Lane 1-17.
Rushing- Van Patten 18-125 with 1 TD, Abbott 5-79 with 1 TD, Mayton 2-(-4), Team 1-(-5).
Passing- Warner 1-3 for 11 yards, Mayton 0-1.
Receiving- Neerman 1-11.