Note: Defensive statistics were not available by press time.
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Asst. Editor
COSBY, Tenn. – The Cherokee Braves (1-1) dominated the stat line as they traveled to the Cosby (Tenn.) Eagles (1-1) on the incredibly warm, muggy evening of Friday, Aug. 25. Cherokee put up 302 yards of offense while holding the Eagles to 53 as they got their first win of the young season 47-6.
Mike Driver, Braves senior quarterback, completed 6 of 9 passes for 107 yards and 3 TDs and added 34 yards on the ground on 7 carries scoring 2 TDs.
Luke Smith, Braves senior wide receiver, had 3 receptions for 56 yards and caught all three of Driver’s touchdown passes.
Cherokee started the game on fire scoring twice in the first two minutes of the contest. Emiliano Garcia set the stage with a big 40-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. That set up a 10-yard touchdown run by Mato Grant, senior running back. The point-after kick was no good, and Cherokee led 6-0 at the 10:22 mark of the first quarter.
The Eagles fumbled the ensuing kickoff which was recovered by Cherokee’s Shiloh Woodson. On the next play, Driver hit Smith on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Grant ran for the two-point conversion, and Cherokee led 14-0 with 10:06 left in the first.
Cosby turned the ball over on downs following an 11-play drive. Cherokee had a three-and-out on their next possession. An errant snap on their punt attempt gave Cosby great field position at the Cherokee 9-yard line.
Two plays later, the Eagles would get what would be their only score of the game as Chase Joyce, Cosby junior quarterback, ran 12 yards for a score. Braves’ sophomore cornerback Jonathan Saylor blocked the extra-point kick, and Cherokee led 14-6 with 2:25 left in the first.
On their ensuing possession, the Braves put together a 7-play 60-yard drive which culminated in a 3-yard run by Driver. Nathaniel Littlejohn added the point-after kick, and Cherokee extended its lead to 21-6 early in the second quarter.
The Braves held the Eagles to a three-and-out on Cosby’s next possession. After starting on their own 27-yard line, Cherokee drove down the field again eating up five minutes of the clock. Driver scored his second rushing touchdown of the game on an 8-yard run with 6:56 left in the half. The point-after kick was no good, and Cherokee led 27-6, a lead they’d take into the locker room.
Cosby turned the ball over on downs following a botched punt on the first possession of the second half. The Braves took over on the Eagles 2-yard-line. Cherokee lost yardage on several plays, but on fourth down, Driver hit Smith on a 6-yard touchdown pass in the end zone. Littlejohn added the extra-point, and Cherokee extended its lead to 34-6 with 8:45 left in the third.
The Braves stiff defense forced another three-and-out on Cosby. The Braves took over at the Cosby 35-yard-line following a short punt. Several plays later, Driver connected again with Smith – this time for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Littlejohn added the extra-point, and Cherokee led 41-6 with just over a minute left in the third.
The Eagles were forced to punt again on their next possession. Cherokee took over on its own 39-yard line. J’Ron Lineberry, Braves senior running back and tight end, ran 54 yards on first down. Two plays later, he ran 6 yards for the score. The point-after failed, and Cherokee led 47-6 which is how the game would end as the mercy rule took effect and the clock ran for the remainder of the fourth quarter.
Cherokee travels to Choctaw Central (Miss.) on Friday, Sept. 1 for the annual Battle of the Nations game.