Two lengthy, inexplicable kick-off and punt returns against a lethargic Cherokee special teams defense led Spencer to a 43-26 non-district victory over Cherokee Braves here on September 5th.
Those two big scoring bombs occurred in the third quarter, when speedy Tiger Kyle Fitch rambled 92 yards with a kick-off return, and then ripped through the Cherokee defense with a 76-yard punt return to hand the Tigers a 36-19 lead they would not relinquish.
Spencer scored 10 points in the first quarter to grab the lead and send a message, after kicker supreme Sam Brockshus rifled a 49-yard field goal through the uprights on the Tigers first possession of the game. That was followed by a seven-yard TD run by quarterback Craig Cunningham to make it 10-0 after one period.
The Braves added TDs in the third quarter on a 14-yard TD pass from Jones to Kyle Schuck, and a one-yard TD run by Kyle Schuett.
Both teams tallied TDs in the fourth, with Spencer's Cunningham scoring on a 28-yard run, and the Braves countering with a four-yard TD run by Schuett.
Jones, was 18-33 passing for 181 yards and two TDs, leaving him just 54 yard short of setting the Iowa prep career passing yardage record of 7,701 yards set by James Vandenberg of Keokuk, currently a freshman at the University of Iowa.
Cherokee rushed 24 times for just 51 yards against the pesky Spencer defense, with Schuett leading the way with 24 hauls for 51 yards.
Spencer rushed 53 times for 252 yards, and Cunningham was 3-4 passing for 42 yards. Skylaur Konraudy led the Tigers ground game with 14 hauls for 70 yards.
Schuck led Cherokee receivers with six catches for 61 yards and one TD, while Koch caught five for 33 yards and one TD, Schuett four for 19 yards, and Stephen Veit one for 57. The Braves totaled nine first downs, compared to Spencer's 13.
Tyler Lundsgaard led the Cherokee defense with a dozen tackles, followed by Koch and Matt Pitts with nine each, and Schuck seven.
"We made too many mistakes," said Cherokee's co-head coach Kurt Reynolds. "We didn't take care of our defensive responsibilities. We did better in the second half, but dug too deep a hole for ourselves.
"We'll be better in the District. Our depth is hurting us. We have too many players out of the lineup (due to injury and inelgibility). There were some bright spots we can build on."
The 0-2 Braves enter Class 2A District play Sept. 12 against 1-1 Okoboji in Milford.