Despite the talent each team has showcased this year, neither Cherokee (1-6, 0-4) nor Roswell (1-6, 0-4) has managed to get a win since the second week of the season.
After suffering five straight losses following a 38-28 win over Sequoyah on Sept. 7, Cherokee coach Josh Shaw acknowledged how important a win could be to boost the spirit of his team.
“We’d love to go out and come back with a victory,” Shaw said. “We’re sitting at 1-6 right now, so we’d love to get a win. This late in the season, it would definitely boost morale.”
Shaw may have to take on Roswell without quarterback Spencer Ashley, who injured his lower left leg last week against Etowah.
“Spencer had an X-ray on Monday, and it came back negative, so there are no fractures or anything like that,” Shaw said. “Right now, we are treating it like a sprained ankle. Whether he plays or not will be a game-time decision.”
While Shaw and the Warriors can hold out some hope that Ashley will be fit to play Friday, they aren’t taking any chances. Running back Hunter Wingfield, Ashley’s primary backup at the QB position, has seen a number of reps at quarterback this week.
Last week against Etowah, Wingfield played more than three quarters as the quarterback after Ashley went down 10 minutes into the game.
Though Wingfield was only 6-of-14 through the air for 76 yards, he did have 128 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Shaw believes that, with a week to practice at the new position, not only will Wingfield’s performance improve, but the Warriors will be able to run a wider variety of plays — something they weren’t able to do last week due to Wingfield’s lack of preparation at the position.
“Hunter is going to be getting a lot of reps at quarterback this week, so we won’t have to condense our playbook near as much as we did against Etowah,” Shaw said. “Hunter is an efficient passer — he was just thrown into a difficult situation that he wasn’t prepared for last week. Against Roswell, we won’t be in nearly as difficult a situation offensively as we were against Etowah.”
Though Cherokee may be better prepared to have Wingfield in at quarterback, it will also have to be prepared for a Roswell team that has had issues with penalties all year — most notably, personal fouls.
Last week against Woodstock, Roswell was flagged for six personal fouls and had one player ejected.
“That was the first thing we talked about on Monday,” Shaw said of Roswell’s penchant for rough play. “They’ve been very physical, and have had some extracurricular activities happening on the field on a consistent basis, such as ripping off players’ helmets.”
Shaw hopes the Hornets’ rough nature will benefit his team.
“If they are going to engage in that kind of behavior, we’d like our kids to not participate in it so that we can gain an advantage from their penalties,” Shaw said. “Our kids are going to have to be pretty disciplined and walk away.”
Despite some of the question marks surrounding Friday’s game, Shaw feels Cherokee will have the ability to return home with a victory.
“If we go out and play well, the results will take care of themselves,” Shaw said. “A win is a cure-all for everything.”