FOOTBALL: Mintz scores five TDs, Braves roll over Hayesville
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee ended their regular season with four straight wins that were capped off with a victory over Hayesville (2-8) at Ray Kinsland Stadium on Friday Nov. 4. The Braves (7-4) were led by Tye Mintz, junior quarterback, who ran for four touchdowns and scored another on an interception return.
On the night, Tye Mintz accounted for over 300 total yards of offense. He rushed 14 times for 162 yards and four touchdowns, and he completed 10 of 18 passes for 179 yards and one interception. The Braves amassed 428 total rushing yards in the game. Isaiah Evans, sophomore running back, joined the ground attack with 10 carries for 104 yards and two scores. Terrence Ledford rushed three times for 38 yards and one touchdown, and Blake Smith ran for 13 yards and 1 touchdown.
Tye Mintz moved the ball around in the passing game to four different receivers with Holden Straughan, junior wide receiver, leading the way with three catches for 86 yards. He was joined by George Swayney who had three catches for 51 yards, and Cade Mintz who had three catches for 38 yards.
The Braves were led defensively by Damian Blanton who had eight tackles and one sack. He was followed by Will Davis with seven, Byron Locust with six, Straughan with six and one interception, Seth Smith with five, and Tye Mintz with four and one interception.
Neither offensive nor defensive statistics were available for Hayesville on this game.
The first 18 minutes of this game was a story of “twos” – Cherokee scored twice to open the game, which was followed by two scores by Hayesville, which was followed by two scores from Cherokee.
Evans opened up the scoring in the game with a 10-yard touchdown run at the 8:04 mark of the first quarter. Less than one minute later, Tye Mintz intercepted a ball and ran it 40 yards to the house to put the Braves up 14-0 less than five minutes into the game.
The Yellowjackets came back and scored twice within four minutes. On the first play from scrimmage following the pick-six, Alan Gillis, Hayesville sophomore quarterback, connected with Brian Smith, junior running back, on a 60-yard touchdown pass. Four minutes later, Colton Thomas, junior running back, scored the second touchdown of the night for Hayesville and the game was tied at 14-14 at the 2:45 mark of the first.
Evans added his second score of the quarter on a 22-yard run just over a minute later. The Braves converted on their second two-point conversion to make it 22-14 at the end of the first.
Midway through the second quarter, Smith ran two yards for a touchdown. The Braves converted on the two-point to make it 30-14. Four minutes later, Tye Mintz ran for his first of four touchdowns on a four-yard run. The two-point try failed, and Cherokee took a 36-14 lead into the locker room.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Hayesville’s Thomas broke through the line and ran 65 yards for a touchdown to make it 36-21.
Tye Mintz would rush for two more touchdowns in this quarter (36 yards, 21 yards), and the Braves led 48-21 at the end of the third.
Early in the fourth quarter, Tye Mintz scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a six-yard run. The point after failed and Cherokee led 54-21 with just over ten minutes left in the game.
Midway through the fourth, Ledford scored on a one-yard run to make it 61-21. Hayesville would score once more as Keith Cook ran 11 yards for a touchdown to make the final 61-28.
The Braves will now enter the 1A State Playoffs. As of press time, NCHSAA has not released the playoff pairings.
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