HULL - A defensive battle and a host of costly miscues hurt the Cherokee Braves badly here Friday night in a tense 9-7 Class 2A District I football loss to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley.
Cherokee tallied its lone touchdown in the first quarter on a 22-yard pass from Tyler Jones to Matt Koch, punctuated by Tim Jones' PAT kick.
With the Braves defense clicking and shutting down the Nighthawks' attack, it looked like the Nighthawks would be scoreless at halftime. However, BHRV scored a TD in the final minute on a 10-yard pass from Vander Maten to Dykstra, and missed the PAT to make it 7-6 Cherokee at halftime.
The second half was give and take, with BHRV scoring a 22-yard field goal early in the third quarter to to take a 9-7 lead it would not relinquish.
For Cherokee, Jones completed 23-47 passes for 267 yards, one TD, and three incterceptions, including a costly one in the closing minutes when the Braves were marching deep in Nighthawk territory for what might have been the winning score. Jones also rushed 15 times for 37 yards out of the Braves naked backfield.
BHRV rushed 43 times for 184 yards, with running back Wegter leading the way with 29 carries for 152 yards. Vander Maten rushed 13 times for 29 yards, and completed 6-16 passes for 63 yards, one TD, and two interceptions.
Nick Loughlin, Cherokee's under-sized, gritty noseguard, led the Braves on defense with 14 tackles, followed by Tim Jones 13, Matt Koch 11, Mark Johnson 10, Chris Campbell nine, and Tyler Lundsgaard eight.
Campbell led the Cherokee receivers with 11 catches for 122 yards, while Koch had four for 65 and a TD, Dillon Moye 2-37, Johnson 2-32, and Kyle Schuett 2-37.
The Braves rang up 20 first downs to 13 by the Nighthawks, and were penalized five times for 52 yards, while BHRV was whistled seven times for 60 yards.
"We had our chances and threw them away in the red zone," said a disappointed Cherokee coach Tony Napierala. "We had no execution in the red zone.
" I don't care what it was - interceptions, drops, penalties, sacks - we did it all, so there's not one thing we can focus on to fix it. We have to get better at execution and concentrate better. If it was one thing, that's different. But thiswas several things and you can't play a good team and survive those mistakes. We just didn't execute when we had to."
After two road trips, the 1-2 Braves return home Friday night for Homecoming against district foe Sibley-Ocheyedan (1-2).