SHELDON - Cherokee's struggling Braves trailed 20-0 in the first quarter after three quick-striking Sheldon touchdowns on the way to a decisive 51-7 dismantling at the hands of the 3-1 Orabs here Friday night.
To make matters worse for the Braves, Sheldon recovered a fumble in the end zone with a few seconds left in the game to reach the 51-point mark.
Cherokee's warrior running back Luke Zeiman tallied the Braves' lone touchdown on a 28-yard run in the third quarter.
For the winning Orabs, Matt Dykstra started off the scoring with a 28-yard TD pass from quarterback Chris Balster in the first quarter, and Balster shortly hooked up with Nate Oostra on a 68-yard TD bomb to get the hosts off and running early. Tanner Whitsell's 17-yard TD run rounded out the Orabs' 20-point first quarter that set the tone for the game.
Scoring TDs for Sheldon in the second half were Hunter McDonald on a one-yard run and a 65-yard punt return, Dykstra on a four-yard run, Tom Brown on a one-yard run, and the final TD on that fumble recovery in the end zone at the end of the game.
Sheldon rushed 48 times for 277 yards, with McDonald leading the way with 12 carries for 110 yards. QB Balster completed 6-13 passes for 182 yards, and Cherokee QB Zac Taylor was 1-8 for four yards and one interception, while being harried much of the night from the stiff Orab defensive push.
"Sheldon is a very good team but we didn't play very well in all departments," offered Cherokee coach Travis Schipper. "It's disappointing. We gave up too many big plays. Their first TD was on 4th and 13.
"We moved the ball well at times and the kids are working hard, but we can't afford those big plays that put points on the board."
Nathaniel Morgan led the Cherokee defense with 10 tackles, followed by Zeiman nine, Husman seven, and Michael Rosewall six. Dan Curtis had a fumble recovery for the Braves.
"We had some bright spots, but over all we just aren't executing like we can. We'll keep working hard in practice to correct the mistakes and missed assignments."
The 0-4 Braves travel to 4-0 MOC-Floyd Valley Friday night before returning home for Homecoming 2012 against Sioux Center the following Friday (Sept. 28).