Among them are state playoff berths, region titles and local bragging rights.
While a region title might be out of reach for Cherokee, and the state playoffs not in hand yet, the Warriors have certainly earned the county bragging rights.
In fact, the only four teams Cherokee (4-3, 2-2 Region 5AAAAAA) has beaten has been the other county teams.
Cherokee opened its season with a 53-34 victory over Creekview before beating Sequoyah 34-14 the following week. After losses to North Forsyth, Lassiter and Walton, the Warriors rebounded with wins over Woodstock and, finally, Friday’s upset of previously unbeaten Etowah.
The only county team that wasn’t on Cherokee’s regular-season schedule was River Ridge.
“It’s always nice to win these types of games,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “All the kids know each other, but really, for us, just getting a win feels really good.”
Creekview also owns some share of bragging rights after beating River Ridge 20-19 and Sequoyah 17-14. While neither win was by a large margin, they count just the same.
Creekview is also trying to show its clout in Region 7AAAAA (A). The Grizzlies (5-2, 3-0) narrowly escaped Cambridge on Friday, 27-24, to remain undefeated in their subregion.
Sequoyah beat River Ridge 56-7 in its season opener, but with losses to Cherokee and Creekview, it doesn’t have much room to talk in the county competition. The Region 7AAAAA (A) loss to Creekview also hurt in terms of those standings, but at 5-2 overall and 2-1 in subregion play, the Chiefs do have a shot at the state playoffs through the season-ending region play-in game.
In Region 7AAAA (A) River Ridge (1-6, 0-2) shut out LaFayette 28-0 for its only win of the season. With Gilmer and Pickens ahead, the Knights have an opportunity to go out on a winning streak, but reaching the state playoff isn’t a likely scenario.
As the smallest school, and youngest program, in the county, it isn’t surprising that the Knights don’t have much room to talk. They lost to both Sequoyah and Creekview during the regular season, while Woodstock and Etowah have yet to schedule the newest school in the county.
Aside from a preseason scrimmage with River Ridge, Woodstock only had Region 5AAAAAA foes Etowah and Cherokee scheduled. The Wolverines (2-5, 1-3) took an eight-point loss at the hands of Cherokee and have a tough test this week with a showdown with their Towne Lake archrival, Etowah, this upcoming week.
Like Woodstock, Etowah is only playing the Region 5AAAAAA teams. The Eagles (6-1, 3-1) were undefeated until their trip to Cherokee on Friday, but they will face an even bigger rival in Woodstock.
“If you think (Cherokee) was a rival game, next week is even bigger in terms of rivalry,” Etowah coach Dave Svehla said. “I don’t think getting excited to play (Woodstock) is going to be a problem. We just have to play better. I have told these kids all season that the better team doesn’t win. The team that plays better wins.”
As for the Region 5AAAAAA standings, Etowah is now tied with Lassiter and Walton and 3-1. After this Friday’s game with Woodstock, the Eagles will host Walton and travel to Lassiter to end the regular season.
Essentially Etowah controls its own destiny. Walton (4-3, 3-1) has already lost to Lassiter and also has Milton and Roswell left on its schedule. Lassiter (4-3, 3-1) will face Wheeler and Roswell leading up to its finale with Etowah.