For the second year in a row, the Cherokee Braves' inability to identify and tackle Storm Lake's featured running back Aaron Krier paved the way for another convincing Tornado win, this time 41-14 over the Braves here Friday night.
Krier rang up four TDs while rushing 21 times for 179 yards. Storm Lake rushed 34 times for 220 yards as a team.
Under first-year head coach Travis Schipper, the Braves showed promise in all areas throughout the game, and kept fighting to the end, but Krier's TDs were simply too much to overcome.
Loaded at the skill positions with experienced seniors, the Class 3A Tornadoes capitalized when they needed to against the 2A Braves, who were victimized by a couple costly fumbles in enemy territory and a couple Storm Lake TDs on fourth and long that blew the game open.
Included in that onslaught was a last second TD pass from QB Nick Seaman to receiver Luke Lenhart at the first-half buzzer that handed the Tornadoes a 27-0 halftime lead.
Cherokee's lead running back Luke Zeiman scored both of the Braves' TDs on forceful runs of 11 and 20 yards, and also added a two-point conversion. Cherokee rushed the ball 49 times for 209 yards, with Zeiman leading the way with 34 hauls for 148 yards.
Cheroke QB Levi Lundquist was 2-7 passing for 54 yards, and QB Zac Taylor 1-7 for five yards. Marc Husman had two receptions for the Braves for 27 yards, and Eric Wilkie one for 32 yards.
The Braves tallied 13 first downs in the game to Storm Lake's 12.
"We have some positives to build on despite the loss," said Cherokee coach Schipper. "Over all our offensive line and our running backs did well. In the scope of things, we couldn't control the ball and that made it hard on our line and running backs.
"We will talk about it and get better so we can put our quarterback in better position to move the ball. We saw some good things tonight against a pretty good opponent with a lot of good seniors."
Cherokee travels to Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove for another tough non-district tussle Friday night.