On offense, Cherokee managed just 26 yards on 21 carries as the tough HMS defense keyed on principal Cherokee weapon Marc Husman to shut down the Braves at every opportunity throughout.
Harried and hurried throughout, Cherokee QB Nate Seliger completed 9-25 passes for 105 yards and one interception. Dillon Drefke caught four passes for 30 yards, and Eric Wilkie two for 32 yards to lead the Braves meager passing offense.
HMS running back Troy Simons led the Hawks ground game with 15 carries for 158 yards and one TD, while teammate Jacob Clark rushed 12 times for 86 yards and two TDs. Hunter Kuehl and Heath Nagel also tallied rishing TDs for the winners.
"We stuffed their first two runs and had them third and long on their first possession and they busted a 50-yard run and scored shortly after that," noted Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "Then, we fumbled the ensuing kick-off and they scored right away again. Those two quick TDs rattled us and we couldn't get any momentum back after that."
Playing without five senior starters out with injury crimped the Braves play calling and offensive threats. "We certainly can't afford to have any starters out this year," said Phipps. "They're a good football tyeam and play very physical and we just didn't stack up with all our inexperienced guys in there."
Drefke also paced the Braves on defense with 13 tackles, while Gabe Conley had eight, and Nathan Morgan six. All five injured seniors play both ways for the Braves, which was a double whammy for the team.
"When we did move the ball, we had a couple penalties for blocking in the back that negated big gains and possible touchdowns," added Phipps. "That also gave them good field position. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot."
Those two early TDs helped the Hawks assume a 31-0 halftime lead, and they led 37-0 heading into the final quarter in a game shortened by a continuous clock due to the 35-point mercy rule in Iowa prep football.
"The kids are working hard and we're real proud of them," added Phipps. "We can't do anything about injuries, they're part of the game, but we can continue to work hard to overcome them. "We'll keep hitting that rock and see where we go from here."
Among things the team will be working on this week are blocking and tackling, and minimizing the mistakes, according to Phipps. "We've got great kids," said Phipps. "Together with the coaches, we'll keep working hard to improve."
The Braves (0-3) play in Class 2A District action at Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto (1-1) Friday night.