SPIRT LAKE - Cherokee's inexperienced Braves football team traveled to Spirit Lake Friday night to open the 2011 football season against a Class 3A Lakes Conference brother seeking a game to fill out the schedule after the Indians' previous opponent, Okoboji, opted to not field a football team this season.
The result was disastrous for the Class 2A Braves, with the Indians bolting to a 45-0 halftime lead and then maintaining in the second half with a continuous clock due to the 35-point mercy rule, to take a 52-6 victory.
Cherokee scored its lone touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter when lineman Devon Mongan scooped up a Levi Lundquist fumble and charged 20 yards into the endzone.
The winning Indians totaled 421 yards of offense, including 285 yards rushing and 134 passing. Spirit Lake starting QB Paul Brown was 9-13 passing for 134 yards. The Braves mustered just 82 total yards of offense, including 68 passing and just 14 rushing.
Cherokee quarterback Nate Seliger was 8-15 passing for 68 yards and two interceptions. Dillon Drefke led the Braves' receivers with four catches for 23 yards. With just 14 yards rushing, the Braves were shunted in that department, leading to just two first downs in the game, compared to eight achieved by the Indians.
Aric Waltz, Luke Kabele, and Cody Poock each tallied two TDs for the hosts, with Waltz dancing in from the 65 and nine yard lines, Kabele from 49 and seven yards out, and Poock from two and 11 yards away.
Linebacker Rick Weaver paced the Cherokee defense, with team tackle totals unavailable after the game.
With several sizable linemen out with injuries, Cherokee was ill-equipped to handle the speed and precision of the Indians.
"We'll get better," said Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "We get a couple kids back next week and that will help us. We have no varsity experience on the offensive line but we'll work hard to improve in all areas. That continuous clock sure limits time for working on things early in the season.
"Spirit Lake is a pretty good team, but it's an eye-opener for us. We'll work on things and get better. They played five linebackers and blitzed a lot. We'll work on that, too, and improve as the season goes on."
Cherokee hosts non-conference 3A Storm Lake Friday night.