MILFORD - Å determined Okoboji squad marched 55 yards with four minutes left in the game to score the game-winning touchdown with just 26 seconds left to play and record a 31-27 victory over Cherokee in a Class 2A District opener here on Sept. 12.
Cherokee senior quarterback Tyler Jones made history in the game, breaking the Iowa prep career passing yards record with 141 yards. That total moves his career passing mark to 7,789 yards, breaking the existing record of 7,701 set last season by current University of Iowa freshman James Vandenberg of Keokuk. Jones needed 54 yards heading into Friday's game at Okoboji.
Cherokee scored its first TD in the second quarter on a two-yard run by Kyle Schuett. The Braves scored again in the third period on a 41-yard TD pass and run from Jones to fleet Nick Parker to make it 24-14. The Braves tacked on two more TDs in the fourth on a three-yard run by Schuett, and a four-yard run by Schuett with 4:08 left in the game that gave the Braves a brief 27-24 lead.
Then came the Pioneer heroics with Max Burgeson carrying it in from four yards out with 26 seconds left in the game. Burgeson tallied three rushing TDs to lead the hosts.
The Pioneers were 9-20 passing or 165 yards, including a big pass interference call on Cherokee in that final march that put the hosts at the Braves 14-yard line and l ed to the winning score.
Jones was 12-27 passing for 141 yards, one TD, and two interceptions. Okoboki school officials stopped the game to announce when Jones broke the state passing record.
Tyler Llundsgaard and Schuett also led the Cherokee defense with 13 and 11 tackles, respectively, followed by Kyle Schuck, Luke Pearson, and Philip Bieber nine each.
"Burgeson is shifty wth very quick feet. We had trouble all night tackling him," said Cherokee coach Kurt Reynolds. "He's not very tall, but he's a tough little runner.
"Schuett ran very hard for us tonight. Our offensive line did a good job and stepped forward for the first time this season. We didn't tackle too well. We can improve on that, but it cost us the game tonight.We couldn't stop them when we had to."
The 0-3 Braves host 2-1 Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer Friday night in further District play. Okoboji is now 2-1 for the season.