Fast improving in all areas, but mental lapses leading to foolish penalties, the 2-3 Cherokee Braves overcame a tough Jefferson-Scranton/Paton-Churdan team 16-8 here Friday night in Class 2A District play.
The Braves scored touchdowns in the second quarter and third quarter, punctuating both with much-needed 2-point conversions, to counter the Rams' lone fourth-quarter TD.
Cherokee tallied first on a 7-yard TD run by Jakob Hummel in the second period. Hummel then hooked up with Adam Pitts for the 2-point conversion to stake the Braves to an 8-0 halftime lead.
The Rams scored their lone TD in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Kane Marquardt to Brandon Silbaugh. Marquardt then passed to Otto Oathout for the 2-point conversion.
Cherokee had trouble unleashing its ground game, totaling just 61 yards on 35 carries, with Kristian Freed leading the way with 14 carries for 44 yards. Sam Hinkhouse rushed seven times for 32 yards.
The Rams QB Marquardt completed 9-29 passes for 109 yards and three costly interceptions. Cherokee's Seliger was 8-21 passing for 171 yards, one TD, and one pick. Mahnke led Cherokee receivers with 105 yards on three catches and one TD.
Mahnke, Alanzo Ruble, and Hummel had the interceptions for Cherokee.
"Our defense played well," said Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "We're playing better. We had three penalties in the first half and then had nine in the second half, including most of them in the fourth quarter against the offense. This is disturbing and a loss of focus. We just didn't finish like we need to finish."
The Braves were whistled a dozen times for 98 yards, and JSPC (3-2) penalized six times for 60 yards.
Linebacker Freed led the stout Cherokee defense with 16 tackles, while Ruble tallied 13, and Matt Enderlin nine.