Spencer Ashley — who wore a No. 15 jersey instead of No. 4 because the team’s new gray jerseys didn’t come in single digits — accounted for 403 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a 42-14 victory against North Forsyth at the newly renovated Tommy Baker Field on Friday night.
Cherokee has outscored it opposition 84-21 to begin the season, making it the first time the Warriors have scored 40 or more in consecutive games since 2004.
“We’ve got a lot of great players on offense, a lot of returners, and we’ve got some playmakers over there, and (offensive coordinator Stephen) Jackson and his staff do a great job,” coach Josh Shaw said.
Ashley, who completed 19 of 28 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns, also rushed for 103 yards on seven carries, but he didn’t want to take any credit for his performance.
“Honestly, it wasn’t me,” Ashley said. “It’s all of those great guys around me. The offensive line is great. I’ve got D-I guys at receiver to throw to, so it makes it easy on me.”
Cherokee opened the game explosively with a long scoring drive to begin the game, followed by a 79-yard strike down the middle of the field, from Ashley to emerging star Andrew Harris, to stake a 14-7 first-quarter lead.
Harris led the Warriors with eight receptions for 152 yards and two scores, complemented by touchdown receptions of 15 and 26 yards by Donte Baker.
Things looked to be close with 2:10 left to play in the first half, as Cherokee led only 17-7 after producing a field goal from two fourth-down stops by its defense. But the Warriors opened the flood gates before the half, following what seemed to be an intentional safety taken by North Forsyth with a long scoring drive, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown by Bryson Perry.
“I don’t know how intentional it was, or if it was a bad snap, but nonetheless, it put us in great position to get back down field and increase the lead before half, and we will take the points anyway we can get them,” Shaw said.
North Forsyth followed Cherokee’s opening possession of the game with a long touchdown drive that ended in a 12-yard touchdown run by Jesus Torres, who led the Raiders with 61 yards on 15 carries. But the Warriors defense clamped down for the rest of the game, controlling nine different Raider ball-carriers.
Cherokee’s focus now shifts to opening its Region 5AAAAAA schedule against rival Etowah. While the Warriors have made quite a statement to begin the year, the matchup with the 2-0 Eagles now carries more weight.
Etowah’s had an equally prolific start to the season, with a combined 82 points against Marietta and Sequoyah.
“We’re really excited about this game. It means a lot to everybody, and we’re going to continue to come out firing,” Ashley said.