Cherokee quarterback Nate Seliger turns to deliver the hand-off to running back Kristian Freed during the Braves non-district battle with Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn in Cherokee Friday night. Photo by Mike Leckband
4 lost fumbles cripple Cherokee offense
The Cherokee Braves started the game by losing a fumble on their first play from scrimmage to set the tone for a bummer ballgame that ended in a 44-12 drubbing at the hands of sixth-ranked and 2-0 Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn here Friday night.
The non-district tussle saw the well-coached Hawks dominate the game with a bruising ground attack featuring 6-3, 240-pound Josh Treybal, who rushed for a whopping 231 yards on 15 carries. All told, the Hawks rushed 52 times for 393 yards, with speedster Matt Finch carryin g the ball 10 times for 87 yards.
Cherokee assistant coach Mike Nixon discusses strategy and formation with Adam Pitts during the Braves game against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Friday night in Cherokee. Photo by Mike Leckband
Treybal was 5-11 passing for 98 yards.
Cherokee had trouble throughout getting its offense clicking, offering up five fumbles in the game and losing four of those to stunt any offensive momentum that might have been generated. The Braves rushed 20 times for a scant 36 yards, with Kristian Freed leading the way with six hauls for 22 yards. Quarterback Nate Seliger was 10-21 passing for 73 yards, with Jakob Hummel hisi leading receiver with seven catches for 45 yards.
Hummel scored both Cherokee touchdowns, the first in the first quarter on an 84-yard kickoff return, and the second with just seconds remaining in the first half on a six-yard TD pass from Seliger.
Cherokee punter Seth Mahnke shows perfect form while teammates Jakob Hummel, left, and Alanzo Ruble (7) take off with teammates downfield to cover the free kick after a safety during the Braves game against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Friday. Photo by Mike Leckband
Beyond those two bright spots for the Braves, the Hawks ruled, with Finch busting loose for the first HMS TD in the first quarter on a 27-yard run, and Trebal fleeing 58 yards for a TD in the same period. HMS also tacked on two more TDs in the second frame on a 20-yard pass from Treybal to Cody Leng, and a 10-yard scamper by Finch.
The Hawks wrapped up the scoring with two more TDs in the third on a 67-yard run by Treybal on the first play of the second half, and a 12-yard run by Finch.
The Cherokee defense got worked over, with Tyler Mclaughlin leading the way with 13 tackles, and Freed amassing 10.
Cherokee lineman Miah Back takes a well-deserved swig of water during the Braves non-District football game against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn in Cherokee Friday. Photo by Mike Leckband
"They're a good team," noted Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "They're well-coached and they play hard. They hammered on us with that running game. We're just not sure of who we are yet. We've got a lot of kids without much varsity experience.
"The Districts start next week and we need to get down to business. We stopped them (HMS) and got possession and then fumbled the ball away four times. We need to get the players some repetitions and practice hard on our shortcomings and get ready for District games. It's a long season."
The Bravfes were penalized seven times for 70 yards, and HMS was whistled eight times for 79 yards.
Pay heed, boys -
Cherokee football coach Neil Phipps paces while giving his defense instructions during the Braves game against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Friday night. Cherokee kicks off 2A District play at home Friday against Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto. Photo by Mike Leckband
Cherokee (0-2) kicks off Class 2A District action Friday night in a home game against Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto.