Cherokee's fleet junior receiver Nick Parker scored three touchdowns and Iowa's record-setting passing leader, senior quarterback Tyler Jones, passed for 351 yards and five TDs in the Braves thrilling 40-27 Class 2A District football match-up with 3-2 Clarion-Goldfield in Cherokee on Sept, 26.
The see-saw contest saw the visiting Cowboys take a 14-6 lead in the first half, before the Braves rallied with a fourth down-and-five, 24-yard TD pass from Jones to Kyle Schuck with just over a minute left in the first half. That pivotal TD came after Cherokee's Matt Pitts scored on a fantastic run after the catch on a pass from Jones for 40 yards to paydirt, only to have the TD nullified by a penalty.
The Braves then iced it in the fourth on a Jones to Schuck 37-yard TD pass play to counter a lone Cowboy TD in the fourth period.
Jones, the state's career passing yards leader with 8,290 yards, was 15-27 here Friday night for 351 yards and five TDs, and one interception. Playing without lead running back Kyle Schuett, who's out with an injury, Cherokee rushed 18 times for 94 yards, with Jones carrying it 10 times for 50 yards.
The Cowboys, employing a tricky double wing offense becoming more prevalent in Iowa prep annals the past few years, rushed a whopping 71 times for 384 yards, with Ben Torres leading the way with 26 hauls for 158 yards and two TDs. His teammate Dillon Stradt carried it 14 times for 115 yards.
Matt Koch was Cherokee's leading receiver with five catches for 88 yards, while Parker had two for 96 yards and two TDs, Schuck four for 130 yards and two TDs, Pitts three for 35 yards, and Richie Schmidt one for two yards and one TD.
Busy Tyler Lundsgaard, the Braves leading tackler this season, was in on a whopping 22 tackles to lead the harried Cherokee defense, followed by Koch 19 tackles, Philip Bieber 13, and Dan Bieber 13.
"Our offense came to play," said Cherokee coach Kurt Reynolds. "Without Schuett in there, it was tough, but Parker stepped up for us and had a great game. Schuck had some great catches for us and our offensive line did a nice job blocking and giving Tyler time to throw.
"That double wing offense is tough to practice and play against. Plus, they had a few wrinkles in it that bothered us at times. We didn't do a very good job of tackling at times, but we came through when it counted.
The large Homecoming crowd was vital to the Braves' outstanding play during the game, keeping the Braves fired up. The crowd was enhanced by three former Cherokee class reunions, including the Classes of 1958, 1968, and 1993.
The Braves are now 2-3 overall and 2-1 in District play, and travel to East Sac County (Wall Lake) Friday for a key District matchup against their 3-2, 2-1 rivals.