By Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather staff
The JV Braves earned a spot in the Smoky Mountain Conference Championship playoffs by beating the JV Andrews Wildcats 40-6 on Thursday, Oct. 8. The Braves are set to play the JV Murphy Bulldogs in at home in Cherokee on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7pm. (NOTE: The time and place of this game was changed on Wednesday, Oct. 14 due to the muddy field conditions in Murphy.)
Cherokee dominated the ball on Thursday night amassing 317 yards of total offense to Andrews’ 138. The Braves’ stingy defense was led by Jo Lomas with eight tackles followed by Octavio Rivera, Blake Wright and Cory Johnson with four each.
Andrews got the ball first and on their third play from scrimmage, Braves cornerback Ray Smith intercepted a pass at the Wildcats 36 yard line.
On first down, Braves RB Blake Wright took the ball down to the 7 yard line, and on the next play Corbin Wright ran it in for the first score of the night. Blake Wright ran for the two-point conversion and Cherokee led 8-0 not even two minutes into the game.
When Andrews got the ball back, they were fumble happy. On first down, they fumbled the ball and were lucky enough to recover it themselves. On second down, their luck ran out as Cherokee recovered the ball at the Wildcats 17 yard line.
Two plays later, Corbin Wright would score his second touchdown of the night on an 11 yard run. Blake Wright added the two-point conversion again and the Braves extended their lead to 16-0 at the 6:28 mark in the first quarter.
Andrews turned the ball over on downs on their next possession and Cherokee took over at their own 46 yard line. The very next play, Corbin Wright would jaunt 54 yards for his third touchdown of the game. He added the two-point conversion himself and Cherokee led 24-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Andrews was unable to do anything on their next possession and Cherokee took over from their own 35 yard line a few minutes into the second quarter. On first down, Seth Littlejohn ran 38 yards down to the Andrews 27 yard line. Two plays later, he ran 23 yards into the end zone, but a block in the back penalty negated his touchdown. The ball was placed at the 19 yard line following the spot of foul penalty, and on the next play Blake Wright ran it in for a touchdown. Littlejohn ran for the two-point conversion and Cherokee’s lead extended to 32-0 with 5:58 left before halftime.
The Wildcats started their next possession on their own 40 yard line. They completed a pass on 3rd and 5 and garnered a first down to the Cherokee 48 yard line. Two plays later, Littlejohn intercepted a pass at the Cherokee 24 yard line.
On the very next play, Littlejohn would get into the end zone on a 76 yard run – no penalties this time. Ray Smith ran for the two point conversion and Cherokee would take a 40-0 lead into the locker room.
On an agreement by both sides, the clock ran continuously in the second half. Each team only had one possession each in the third quarter. Cherokee’s possession ended in a punt, and Andrews was able to drive down to the Braves 12 yard line, but lost the ball on downs.
Cherokee punted on their ensuing possession, and Andrews was finally able to get on the board on their next drive. With five minutes left in the game, Andrews QB Michael Garrison connected with Alex Arreaga on a 27 yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion failed and Cherokee led 40-6.
Cherokee started their next drive from their own 36 yard line. Following a 54 yard run by Cory Johnson, the Braves found themselves with a first and goal from the Andrews 4-yard line. Following two running plays, Cherokee’s coaches decided to run the clock out rather than run the score up, and the game ended with the Braves on top 40-6.