Early 21-0 start pushes Cherokee to big win
STORM LAKE - Cherokee's 21-point first quarter set up a big non-district victory over Storm Lake here Friday night as the lethargic Braves ultimately reigned 47-21.
The Braves' big start was fueled by junior quarterback Tyler Jones, who completed 13-17 passes in the first quarter for 159 yards and three touchdowns to establish Cherokee's prowress and set the Tornadoes back on their heels.
Storm Lake did respond after trailing 21-0 in the first frame with a 65-yard TD run by Chom Thammavongsa, who juked his way to paydirt on an option play from quarterback Alex Severson. Cherokee answered on an 11-yard TD pass to Dillon Moye in the second quarter and that 27-7 scored held up at haltime.
The Tornadoes make it interesting in the third quarter when Tyler Gibbons intercepted a Jones pass and returned it 28 yards to make it 27-14.
But the Braves refused to relinquish their lead and Jones rambled 12 yards to paydirt, Mark Johnson ran it in from two yards out, and Jones's back-up - sophomore Matt Pitts - hauled it in from five yards out for three quick Cherokee TDs to put it all away.
Storm Lake scored late on a 42-yard TD pass from Bobby Brown to Zack Miller against Cherokee's JV defense, for the final tally.
Jones finished with 26 completions on 41 passes for 300 yards, four TDs, and one interception. Pitts was 2-7 for 24 yards and one rushing TD.
Storm Lake's QB duo of Severson and Brown finished 20-33 for 185 yards and one interception.
Leading receivers for the Braves were Chris Campbell 8-70, Kyle Schuett 6-58, Matt Koch 5-72, Mark Johnson 5-64, and Dillon Moye 2-26.
Phelan Hudson led the Cherokee defense with seven tackles, followed by Tyler Lundsgaard six and two sacks, Tim Jones six and one sack, Johnson five, Matt Koch and Nick Loughlin four each.
Also leading the energetic Cherokee defense were Philip Bieber with an interception, Tom Weaver two fumble recoveries, Cutter Carlson and Wayne Thompson fumble recoveries.
"We started out well, but mentally didn't finish things out - especially in the offensive line - said Cherokee coach Tony Napierala. "But we fixed it and got things going in the second half. We made some mistakes that they capitalized on. Our kids are working hard and were physical and that showed."
The 1-1 Braves travel to Hull Friday for a Class 2A District opener with Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley.