Fast start leads Cherokee past Harriman, 34-0

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By Goose Lindsay

The Cherokee Yellow Jackets improved their season mark to 6-0 Thursday with a 34-0 victory over Harriman.


Brian Pankey's squad took control of Thursday's contest early by scoring on all three first half possessions and tacking on another score to begin the third quarter.

“I thought we came out and played our best game of the year,” Cherokee head coach Brian Pankey said. “I thought our offensive and defensive line were really physical tonight.”

After forcing a Harriman three-and-out to start the game, the Jackets drove 47 yards in seven plays with Malcolm Lane scoring on a 21-yard run. 

Rhett Jones added the two-point conversion to give Cherokee an 8-0 lead with 2:53 left in the opening quarter.

Lane had another big run on Cherokee's second possession as his 36-yard scamper was the big play in a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive that made the score 14-0 with 4:19 left in the first half.

Jones scored the touchdown on a seven-yard run.

Cherokee's two-point try was no good.

Cherokee's third scoring drive of the night was their quickest as Jones broke free from 50 yards out to put the finishing touches on a three-play, 59-yard scoring drive.

Brandon Townsend hooked up with Cody Mitchell on two-point conversion to make the score 22-0 with 38.2 seconds left in the first half.

The Jackets picked up where they left off to start the second half as they opened the third period with a  six-play, 52-yard drive that ended with QB Paul Bolden hooking up with Lane from 25 yards out.

Cherokee's two-point try failed, leaving the score 28-0 with 4:49 left in the third quarter.

Cherokee played mostly reserves the rest of the way, but the Jacket backups also found the end zone as QB Tyler Thompson scored on a five-yard run to make the score 34-0 with 2:32 left to play.  

The two-point try was no good.

Cherokee ended the game with 228 yards of total offense on 35 plays.

The Jackets ran the ball 31 times for 181 yards with the one-two punch of Jones (10-103-2 TDs) and Lane (5-56-1 TD) doing most of the damage.

Harriman ended the game with 55 total yards on 24 plays.

Michael Roberts led the Blue Devils with 24 yards rushing on four carries while T.J. Kirkland added 21 yards on seven attempts.

Up next for Cherokee (6-0) is a tough road game at Robertsville on Thursday. A victory over the Rams will give the Jackets a berth in the Clinch Valley Championship Game in October.

“They're really quick and they're always good,” Pankey said. “We'll have to try to keep them contained and play physical up front.”

 Harriman plays Jefferson at home on Thursday.