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The Cherokee Yellow Jackets ran their season mark to 5-0 Thursday evening as Wade Creswell’s squad downed visiting Rockwood at Dr. Nat Sugarman Field, 35-12.
Unlike the Jackets first four wins, which were blowouts from start to finish, Cherokee had to come from behind Thursday and that was something Jacket head coach Wade Creswell had been waiting to see all season.
“I’m proud of how we answered the bell,” Creswell said. “Tonight we able to overcome some adversity against a hard-nosed football team.”
Rockwood’s game plan on Thursday was to shorten the game by pounding the ball at the Jackets with RB Sam Turek following a big offensive line.
The strategy worked early as the Tigers ran Turek eight straight times for 66 yards and had the ball at the Cherokee five yard line before a fumble ended the drive.
Rockwood, however, recovered a Cherokee fumble on the next play then Turek scored on a three-yard run to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead with 3:46 left in the opening period.
Rockwood’s two-point try was no good.
While Rockwood was playing ground-and-pound, Cherokee used big play back Maurice Lane to score quickly.
Lane returned the ensuing kickoff 33 yards to the Tiger 32, then after a penalty, he scored on a 37-yard run to tie the score.
Lane added the two-point conversion to make the score 8-6 with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers put together another long drive on their next possession, as they marched 37 yards in 10 plays before turning the ball over on downs at the Cherokee 28.
Cherokee scored six plays later on a 24-yard run from Lane, then Tommy Jordan added the two-point conversion to make the score 16-6 with 1:08 left in the first half.
A 48-yard pass from Matt Spellman to Ethan Guinn set up the score.
Rockwood tried an onside kick to start the second half, but Cherokee recovered then Lane capped a three-play, 50-yard drive with a 47-yard run to make the score 22-6 with 6:29 left to play in the third quarter.
Rockwood stayed within striking distance by putting together an 11-play, 61-yard drive that ended in an eight-yard run from Turek on the final play of the third quarter to make the score 22-12.
Turek carried on 10 of the 11 plays in the drive.
The two-point try was no good.
Cherokee’s next scoring drive lasted just one play and covered 51 yards as Spellman found a wide open Guinn for the score.
The two-point try failed, leaving the score 28-12 with 7:47 left to play.
Cherokee’s final score came with 6:39 left to play as Bryce Woody returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown.
Gabe Shillings added the PAT to make the final score 35-12.
Cherokee ended the evening with 202 yards offense on only 15 plays.
Lane led the way with 108 yards rushing and three TDs on only five carries.
Spellman completed all three of his passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Guinn was the leading receiver with 98 yards and a score on two receptions.
Rockwood ended the night with 144 yards of offense on 40 plays.
Turek ended the evening with 157 yards rushing and two TDs on 31 carries.
Rockwood and Cherokee will both travel to Anderson County on Thursday for road games. Rockwood will be at Clinton while Cherokee visits Robertsville in Oak Ridge.
Rushing- Turek 31-157 with 2 TDs, McDermott 1-(-4), Neerman 3-(-8), Hicks 1-2, Team 3-(-3).
Passing- Hicks 0-1 with 1 INT.
Rushing- Lane 5-108 with 3 TDs, Woody 2-(-3), Jordan 1-(-2), Spellman 1-(-5), Headrick 2-(-4), Plemons 1-4.
Passing- Spellman 3-3 for 104 yards with 1 TD.
Receiving- Woody 1-6, Guinn 2-98 with 1 TD.