Braves win shoot-out over MOC-FV
ORANGE CITY - Coming off a nice homecoming win the week prior, the Cherokee Braves traveled to Orange City last Friday night with the hopes of starting their season 3-0 in district play and moving their overall record to 3-2. The Braves were able to finish strong in a game that ended up being a fourth quarter shoot out, Defeating the MOC-FV Dutch 35-27.
The Braves got off to a hot start and were able to find the endzone twice in the first quarter. The first score came with just under four minutes to go in the opening quarter when senior quarterback Mason Pitts found fellow senior receiver Trey Valentine for a 50-yard touchdown connection. Pitts then found Valentine on the 2-point conversion to give the Braves the 8-0 lead.
Cherokee's second score was set up nicely as the offense had a short field to work with after a Isaac Lafleur fumble recovery. Senior Michael Herwig was able to dive into the endzone from two yards out giving the Braves a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Dutch were able to get their first points on the board in the second quarter. With 5:30 to go quarterback Ben DeBoer hooked up with Parker Wierda for a 9 yard touchdown pass. The following PAT was successful and the Braves took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Both teams were able to score in the third quarter. MOCFV drew first blood in the second half with DeBoer throwing his second touchdown of the game, this time to Jaaron Paugh with just under six minutes to play.
The Braves answered right back on the next drive. Capping off their 65-yard drive with Pitts scampering into the endzone from 12 yards out. The Braves led at the end of the third 20-13.
Neither team got off to a great start in the fourth quarter but each team was able to score twice in the final five minutes of play. The Braves expanded their lead with 4:53 to go with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Herwig to Valentine.
MOC-FV came right back with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ben DeBoer to Kyle Puttman with just 2:26 to go in the game and the Braves led 27-19.
The Dutch weren't done yet. With under a minute to go quarterback DeBoer found Wierda for their second touchdown connection of the game, this time from 19 yards out.
The Braves led 27-25, but the Dutch were able to convert the 2-point conversion, tying the game at 27-27.
Under a minute to go, the Braves were set to get the kick off from the Dutch and two plays was all the Braves needed to get back on top.
The first play was a 27-yard gain on a pass from Pitts to Valentine, who ran out of bounds at the 37-yard line in Dutch territory to stop the clock. The very next play Pitts was able to connect in the endzone again with Valentine from 37 yards out to put the Braves back on top. The following 2-point conversion was a successful connection between Pitts and Mason Timmerman, putting the Braves up 35-27.
The MOC-FV Dutch had 33 seconds left of game play to attempt to tie the game but that was cut short when Valentine was able to intercept a DeBoer pass to seal the deal.
Offensively for the Braves, Pitts was 12-28 with 216 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown. Valentine hauled in six catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns in an impressive careerbest showing. Herwig had 25 rush attempts for 74 yards and one touchdown, and Tyler Zeimen had seven carries for 43 yards.
No tackle numbers for Cherokee were included in the available game statistics.
When asked about grabbing the go-ahead touchdown late in fourth Valentine commented" I saw the ball coming down and I felt like I was going to catch it, but their defense was able to trip me up a little bit, but I was able to stay on my feet and get in."
When asked about Valetine's go-ahead touchdown catch, Braves head coach Travis Schipper said" Trey is a tough matchup for anybody. Trey did a great job tonight. He had some nice catches on offense tonight and was able to get the interception to end the game too."
The Braves are now 3-0 in district play. Coach Schipper commented that the upcoming schedule gets much tougher stating, "We have (ranked) Boyden- Hull/Rock Valley next week. I'm not sure if it gets much tougher than that. We are 3-0 right now and we are going to give it all our all next week at Hull."
The Braves will travel on the road next week to take on Boyden- Hull/Rock Valley, who is 4-1 overall, and 3-0 in district play.