Cherokee's battling Braves saved the best for last here Friday night, scoring three second-half touchdowns while overcoming a 25-7 deficit to lay claim to a thrilling 26-25 Homecoming victory over East Sac County.
The Braves simply refused to lose this night, with senior quaterback Nate Seliger staying the course and coming through late with a winning touchdown pass to Nathaniel Morgan with 32 seconds left to play, after junior speedster running back Marc Husman returned a second-half kick-off 50 yards for a pivotal TD to ignite the Braves in the third quarter, who trailed 25-7 at the time.
The Raiders led 13-7 at halftime, with Cherokee's lone TD coming on an explosive 85-yard scoring strike from Seliger to Adam Pitts.
The Braves countered 12 third-quarter ESC points by Husman's thrilling kock-off retirn to make it 25-14, and then the Braves tallied two more TDs in the fourth, the first on a 4-yard run by Seliger, and then came Seliger's TD pass to Morgan for the decider. Grayson Roosa kicked two PATs for the winners.
The Braves rushed 32 times for just 66 yards, with Luke Ziemen leading the way with 18 hauls for 26 yards. Seliger was 15-26 passing for 268 yards and two TDs.
Pitts led Cherokee receivers with five catches for 115 yards and a TD, Husman six catches for 109 yards, Dillon Drefke one for 14 for a key first down, and Eric Wilkie one catch for nine yards and a big first down.
"This was fun," said a pleased Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "We're excited for the kids, especially with it being homecoming and everything. East Sac County is tough inside on defense, but we didn't make any big mistakes and our defense shut them down in the fourth quarter.
"You have to credit the kids for hanging in there and finding a way. Nate came through for us with that pass to Nathaniel, and Marc's kick-off return fired us up. We executed better when we had to. It was a great comeback."