By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Five athletes at Cherokee High School signed letters of intent to play college sports on National Signing Day. Four members of the Cherokee Braves 1A State Championship football team and one member of the Lady Braves basketball team signed during a ceremony held in the Charles George Memorial Arena on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 7.
The following signed on Wednesday: Tye Mintz, Kennesaw State University; Holden Straughan, Lenior-Rhyne University; Zak Perez, Mars Hill University; Demetryus Bradley, Mars Hill University; and Shelby Wolfe, Gardner-Webb University.
“We’re so proud of the commitment these young men have made to put themselves in an opportunity to play at the next level,” Kent Briggs, Braves head football coach, said of his four players. “It is very challenging to do that and takes a lot of support from their families, coaches, and the biggest thing is their desire to do that. I feel very proud that they’ve had confidence and have believed in themselves enough to take the next step.”
Chris Mintz, Lady Braves head basketball coach, commented on Wolfe’s signing, “She has a chance to go play at a great school like Gardner-Webb and fulfill her dream. In seventh grade, she started playing and that’s what she wanted to do. She worked hard, and now she’s going to get a chance to go play college basketball.”
Deborah Foerst, Cherokee High School principal, addressed the crowd during Wednesday’s signing, “This is a historic day for Cherokee High School. We have five students signing, all in one day; that’s never happened before, and we are blessed. We are blessed that these students chose Cherokee High School as their educational choice, and we’re blessed that they have athletic talent that they chose to build here as Braves and Lady Braves. We thank you, the parents, for all of your support of your students and the school for the past four years.”
Tye Mintz, Braves senior quarterback and safety, ended his career as Cherokee’s all-time total offensive leader. His senior season, he completed 111 of 191 passes for 2,085 yards and 18 TDs and rushed the ball 194 times for 1,803 yards and 34 TDs. On defense, he had 48 solo tackles, five tackles for loss, and four interceptions.
“It feels pretty surreal,” he said. “I never thought that I would make it this far; probably at a smaller school, but I never thought that I would make it to this level. Words can’t really describe how I feel right now about playing at Kennesaw…I just want to thank my team and my coaches for pushing me through and keeping me going. I can’t wait to set foot on Kennesaw.”
Mintz received numerous post-season honors including: Associated Press All-State team, NCPreps.com All-State team, All-Western North Carolina, All-Smoky Mountain Conference (2016, 2017), Most Valuable Player in 1A State Championship game, and a participant in the 2017 Shrine Bowl.
Straughan, Braves senior, was a three-year starter at outside linebacker and wide receiver. As a senior, he caught 24 passes for 448 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he had 27 solo tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, two sacks, and two fumble recoveries.
“I would have never thought in the whole wide world that I’d be going for football,” he noted. “I’ve always been a basketball player since I was 4. I can’t put it into words how excited I am to be going for football.”
He was named All-Smoky Mountain Conference (2016, 2017) and was named Honorable Mention All-Western North Carolina his senior year in addition to being a starting safety in the FCA East-West All-Star Game.
Perez, Braves senior, started every game at offensive tackle for the past three seasons as well as being a strong defensive player. As a senior, he had 16 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. He was named Most Valuable Defensive Player in the 1A State Championship game as well as being named All-Western North Carolina. He started at offensive tackle in both the FCA East-West All-Star Game and the Border Bowl All-Star Game.
“It feels really nice,” said Perez. “It’s a dream come true. Since I was little I always wanted to go play in the pros, just have fun doing what I love.”
Bradley, Braves senior, started every game on the offensive line for the past two seasons. He was named Honorable Mention All-Smoky Mountain Conference his senior year as well as starting on the offensive line in both the FCA East-West All-Star game and the Border Bowl All-Star Game.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” he commented. “It’s something that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. It’s great to live out my dream.”
Wolfe, a 4-year member of the Lady Braves varsity basketball team, was named to the All-Smoky Mountain Conference team in the 2016-17 season. “It’s what I’ve always wanted and is a dream come true.”
To view more photos from this event, visit: https://onefeather.smugmug.com/SPORTS/CHS-Signing-Day-2-7-18/