The Class 2A District win gave the Braves a 3-7 season record, while Missouri Valley-West Harrison closes the books on a 2-8 mark.
The Braves bookended the game with a 20-point first quarter and a 13-point fourth quarter to claim the win, but allowed the hosts to attain a 20-point third-quarter outburst that threatened to give the Big Reds the victory.
The Braves scoring included three important first-quarter touchdowns, with Marc Husman scoring on a scintillating 84-yard pass from QB Nate Seliger. Husman grabbed the ball in the flat and sped away to paydirt 80 yards away.
That TD was followed by another stellar play as Cherokee's Rick Weaver picked off a pass and raced 88 yards to score, thanks to a pivotal block by hustling Lane Peterson. Husman then tallied again on a 40-yard TD pass from Seliger to stake out a 20-0 lead.
Cherokee then answered with two TDs in the fourth quarter, the first a superb Seliger to Adam Pitts pass play for 30 yards, and Conley's heroics in the closing minutes that iced it.
Cherokee rushed 38 times for 177 yards, with Luke Zeimen leading the way with 23 carries for 99 yards, and Husman seven hauls for 42 yards. Seliger was 12-19 passing for 212 yards and three TDs and two picks, along with two lost fumbles.
The Big Reds QB tandem completed 10-23 passes for 158 yards and four interceptions. The hosts rushed 39 times for 200 yards and were led by Birdsell with seven carries for 93 yards, including a 70-yard TD run, and Jake Roden with 21 hauls for 80 yards and three TDs on runs of 12, nine, and 17 yards.
Leading Cherokee defenders were Pitts with 10 tackles, Dillon Drefke and Zeimen eight apiece, Stetson Dagel six, and Mike Rosewall five.
Cherokee coaches also lauded the overall play of linemen Miah Back and Trevor Devitt, who improved each game out.
"We got a great start and they closed the gap on us," noted Cherokee coach Neil Phipps. "That third quarter was scary. They got things going their way and we couldn't get the flood stopped. But give credit to our guys for hanging in there and finding a way."
Grayson Roosa kicked 3-3 PATS for the Braves, and Andrea Pavanello kicked one, along with a couple impressive kick-offs that pinned the Big Reds deep in their own territory.
The Braves won two of their last three games to cast a positive light on the future.