Friday littered with big efforts
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
August 24, 2014 12:50 AM | 3097 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Though Creekview and River Ridge took their lumps in Friday night’s openers, that wasn’t the case for others, including Andrew Harrris and his Cherokee teammates.
<Br>Special photo by Kent McCorkle
Though Creekview and River Ridge took their lumps in Friday night’s openers, that wasn’t the case for others, including Andrew Harrris and his Cherokee teammates.
Special photo by Kent McCorkle
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Big numbers were the story as five of Cherokee County’s six football teams opened their season Friday night.

Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock were the big winners, while Creekview and River Ridge were handed tough losses.

Sequoyah, meanwhile won’t open its season until next Friday.

Cherokee and Woodstock came away with the biggest wins of the night. The Warriors beat Chattahoochee 42-7, while the Wolverines beat River Ridge by the same margin. Etowah, as a 48-20 winner over Marietta, put the most points on the board.

Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said he noticed how the other county teams fared, but he also noticed a trend from his counterparts in Region 5AAAAAA.

“There were three teams that scored over 40 points,” Shaw said. “There are a lot of teams scoring points, and they happen to be all the ones that are in our region.”

Among other region teams, Walton and Wheeler were also winners. Even Lassiter scored 35 points in a loss to Hillgrove.

“It’s like we said all along, our region is going to be extremely tough,” Shaw said. “We have North Forsyth this week, and then we are going to have to strap it up against Etowah, and they beat the tar out of Marietta.”

Walton, which beat South Gwinnett 16-13, might not have put as many points on the board as other teams did, but it did exact a bit of revenge for the region. In 2013, the teams of Region 5AAAAAA were swept from the state playoffs by schools from Gwinnett County.

“Any time schools in our region can go over there and beat a Gwinnett school, I think it’s huge for our region,” Shaw said.

The Cherokee coach added that he thought Etowah had a chance to beat Marietta, but he didn’t expect it to be lopsided.

That wasn’t the only score that surprised him.

“Ours surprised me,” Shaw said. “I knew that we had a chance. Then, after watching film, I knew that we would be the better team, but I didn’t think we would be 35 points better.”

Other teams in the county didn’t look as good.

Creekview lost 55-20 to North Paulding, matching the most points a Grizzlies team has allowed in the program’s history. Not only that, but it equaled the most lopsided loss, alongside a 35-point loss to a Chattahoochee team led by current Creekview coach Terry Crowder.

River Ridge, playing its first season in Class AAAAA, knew it would be a challenge going up against Woodstock. The teams had faced one another in scrimmages each of the last two years.

Friday’s game found its way onto the schedule as a way to initiate a rivalry between two schools separated by just 5½ miles physically, but what appeared to be a much greater gap on the football field.

Woodstock piled on more than 400 yards of offense, and that didn’t include an 84-yard kickoff return by Reagan Amos. Quarterback Justin Agner connected on 19 of 26 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

River Ridge had at least one playmaker on its sideline. Jarrod Fletcher broke out an 89-yard kickoff return for one of few highlights for the Knights.

Agner wasn’t the only quarterback to put up big numbers. Cherokee’s Spencer Ashley had even higher totals, completing 27 of 32 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns.

The Warriors’ Andrew Harris had the strongest receiving numbers, with 14 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns.

Making Cherokee’s win even more impressive is that it came without the Warriors’ highest-recruited player, two-way starter Brittain Brown. The running back and safety, sidelined with a back injury, will be a game-time decision against North Forsyth next week, Shaw said.

In Brown’s absence, Shaw said several players stepped up. Among them were Vance Taylor and Bryson Perry at running back, and Demarcus Boldin and Jack Carroll at safety.

“I’m not going to try to force (Brown) back because I need him,” Shaw said. “We are going to need him for region play. He isn’t full-go. He is having back issues that are putting him in some pain. He is getting treatment for it and he is getting better.

“I want him to be ready in two weeks, but we had some really, really good kids stepping up in place of him. It’s good to see, with (Brown) on the sidelines, we still have a chance to step up and execute and keep the ball rolling.”

Cherokee, Etowah, Sequoyah and Woodstock will all be in action again next Friday. Cherokee will host North Forsyth in its home opener, while Sequoyah will open the season at Etowah. Woodstock will host Johns Creek.
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