SPENCER - The Cherokee Braves spotted Spencer two quick touchdowns late in the first half that led to the Tigers' 40-27 non-district football win here Friday night.
Spencer put up 20 points on three TDs in the second quarter to take a 27-6 lead and withstood a 21-point Cherokee second half to get the victory.
The Braves took an early 6-0 lead in the first frame on a 13-yard TD pass from Matt Pitts to Nick Parker, with the PAT kick failing. However the Tigers answered back to take a 7-6 lead after the first quarter and then tallied those 20 second-quarter points to take command, two of those coming on pass plays of 26 and 22 yards late in the period.
Cherokee scored a TD in the third quarter on a Pitts two-yard run, with Pitts kicking the PAT, to pull the Braves to within 27-13. The Braves hit again early in the fourth on a 57-yard TD pass from Pitts to Kyle Schuck to pull within 27-20, before Spencer countered with two fourth-quarter TDs to ice it. The Braves scored on the last play of the game on a 32-yard TD pass from Pitts to Schuck for the final margin.
Cherokee was unable to corral the Tigers diminuitive fullback, 5-5, 150-pound James Randall, who rambled out of the option attack for 209 yards and two TDs to lead the Tigers to victory.
Spencer rushed the ball 53 times for 290 yards, and quarterback Robbie Schlaeger was 4-9 passing for 73 yards and one interception.
For Cherokee, Pitts was 12-24 passing for 228 yards and two picks, and led the Braves rushing with nine hauls for 47 yards. Parker rushed six times for 25 yards, and Dan Bieber six times for 24 yards. Parker also had a 50-yard run called back by a clipping penalty.
Schuck was leading receiver for Cherokee with four catches for 128 yards and two TDs. Parker caught five balls for 76 yards and one TD.
Schuck also led the Braves on defense with nine solo tackles, while Kristian Freed, Cody Stowater, and Nick Keith each totaled seven solo stops. Jakob HUmmel had an interception in the end zone for the Braves.
"We had some defensive breakdowns and gave them those two late touchdowns in the second quarter that just killed us," said Cherokee co-coach Neil Phipps.
"We didn't give up and made a nice comeback in the second half, but we couldn't get the stops when we needed. Randall runs hard for a little guy and was hard to find in that option attack. Schlaeger does a nice job running that offense. He's pretty tricky. We also didn't have everyone available due to sickness or injury and that mattered.
"When we beat Storm Lake last week, our special teams were great, but we had problems tonight. We need to work on some things and make some adjustments. Now we get into district play and need to get rolling. There's some shuffling going on due to our injury situation."
The 1-1 Braves host 0-2 Okoboji Frday night to open 2A district action.