CANTON — Cherokee got offensive in the first half and defensive in the second to come away with a 21-15 victory over Rome last Friday at Tommy Baker Field.
The Warriors moved to 3-0 on the season while handing the Wolves (1-1) their first loss.
“The first half was a story of the offense and the second half was a story of the defense, and of course special teams coming up big there at the end, recovering the onside kick,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “Just a tremendous win for our kids and our coaches, our program and our school.”
The driving force for Cherokee on the night was Adarrius Harshawn and his connections with quarterback A.J. Swann into the end zone for two touchdowns — one for 80 yards and the other for 56.
On the fourth play of the game, Harshawn’s 80-yard score put Cherokee up 7-0.
Rome responded back with a 80-yard touchdown run from quarterback Caleb Ellard, but the Wolves could not tie the game after a missed extra point.
Harshawn’s 56-yarder put the Warriors up 14-6.
Swann threw for 183 yards and the two touchdowns.
Keith Adams Jr.’s 59-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter put Cherokee up 21-9.
Rome moved the ball in the second half, but it was forced to settle for three field goals by Fernando Lopez-Romero.
The Wolves finished with 316 yards of total offense.
Cherokee’s defense shined most of the night and took over in the second half as it continued to make big stops on fourth down.
“The turnover that we had the pick just before halftime was a life-saver,” Shaw said. “Great play by Austin Tremble and he went to (Rome’s) Jay Wise, and he came up with a critical turnover. The fourth-down stops, I think, were tremendous.
Down by six after Lopez-Romero’s last field goal, Rome lined up for an onside kick, but Cherokee recovered and was able to run out the clock.
“Well, it wasn’t always pretty tonight at times, but I think both sides of the ball really held each other out,” Shaw said.