ORANGE CITY - A hour and 45 minute delay - because no game officials showed up - only added to the bizarre nature of Cherokee's pivotal Class 2A, District 1 football game at Orange City Unity Christian Friday night, a most forgettable night that saw the host Knights abscond with a 35-20 victory.
Despite the Braves stunning the large crowd that had been lulled to sleep by the uncalled- for delay with Kyle Schuett's scintillating 97-yard opening kick-off return, the Knights steadied their ship and pounded out four rushing touchdowns on runs of six, eight, 65, and 54 yards to take control of the game. Unity Christian also added a 13-yard TD pass play.
The Braves scored on Schuett's game-opening thriller, a 44-yard TD pass from quarterback Tyler Jones to Schuett in the second quarter, and a 13-yard TD pass to Scheutt in the fourth period.
Jones completed 20-41 passes for 217 yards, two TDs, and four interceptions against the pesky Knight defense. He rushed for a negative 35 yards due to six QB sacks by the on-rushing Unity Christian linemen.
The KNights rushed 57 times for 368 yards, and passed 5-11 for 43 yards in a ball control offense designed to keep the ball out of Jones's hands.
Schuett was leading receiver for the Braves with eight catches for 144 yards, while Chris Campbell caught five for 33, Nick Parker two for 22, Dillon Moye 7-13, and Matt Koch 3-5.
Leading defenders for Cherokee were Nick Louglin with 11 tackles, followed by Mark Johnson nine, Tyler Lundsgaard and Tom Weaver eight apiece, and Wayne Thompson six.
"We didn't handle the delay very well and, excluding Schuett's kick-off return, came out flat," said Cherokee coach Tony Napierala. "They were more physical than us, we didn't protect the quarterback, and we spent most of the time running for our lives. That's how it was. We were out-physicaled all night.
"We need to get better. I'm afraid we lost (lineman/kicker) Tim Jones (knee injury) for the rest of the season and that just kills us for what he means to us up front."
The gloomy picture gets no better for the snake-bit 3-3 Braves, who entertain #1 Central Lyon/George-Little Rock (6-0) Friday night in Cherokee.