Second half dooms Braves Mo Valley takes 35-29 Homecoming win
The Cherokee Braves opened district play last Friday against the Big Reds of Missouri Valley. The Braves led 22-6 going into halftime but smash mouth football by the Big Reds in the second half was able to overcome the Brave's lead and hand them a 35-29 Homecoming loss.
The Braves came storming out of the gates Friday and went up by two scores in the first quarter off a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Alex Paulsrud. The first score was a 23 yard touchdown pass to Kobe Grell, and the second a 17 yard TD pass to Ryan Hurd.
Both teams were able to scored in the second quarter, but the Big Reds got their momentum shift in the third quarter when quarterback Kyle Duke went to the races on fourth down with a 61 yard TD run.
The Braves answered back with a two yard TD run by Mason Goebel but Missouri Valley scored on their next possession with another rushing TD from their quarterback Kyle Duke. At the end of the third quarter the Braves were hanging on to a 29-22 lead.
In the fourth quarter the Big Reds pounded the football with run after run with their tailback Nick Haynes, who rushed for a total of 219 yards on 32 carries in the game.
The Big Reds scored with 4:19 to play on a rush from Haynes to cut the lead to 30-29 and took their first lead of the game with 1:59 to play as Connor Lange scored on a 13 yard run.
The ground and pound offense of the Big Reds proved to wear the Braves down and Missouri Valley completed their comeback.
“In our last two games we fell behind early but in this game we got off to a quick start offensively,” said head coach Travis Schipper. “ “We didn't take advantage of the pressure that Missouri Valley put on us in the second half. Their run offense wore us out in the second half and we tried to rotate some guys but we need to do a better job of tackling. “
The Brave's put up 356 total yards of offense, with the majority coming through the air. Paulsrud went 21 of 36 passing with 216 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Grell caught six passes for 117 yards and one TD, Hurd caught one pass for 17 yards and one TD, Trevor Lundquist caught three passes for 74 yards, Cole Pitts caught four passes for 39 yards, Goebel hauled in four passes for 23 yards, Bryce Lussier caught two passes for 21 yards, and Carson Mongan caught one pass for 25 yards.
Rushing yards were hard to come by for the Braves as Goebel rushed for 23 yards, Paulsrud nine, Daenen Pierce four, and Lundquist 11 yards.
The Braves fall to 1-4 on the season and 0-1 in district play and are on the road on Friday at East Sac in Wall Lake. The Raiders are 2-3 on the season.
Schipper said, “East Sac is a run-heavy team. We need to come downhill and tackle. We can't arm tackle, we did a poor job of that against Missouri Valley. I'm positive our coaches can address that and we can fix those things heading into the East Sac game. “