WOODSTOCK -- Defense led the way for Cherokee as it beat Woodstock 13-7 on Friday night, giving the Warriors their first win at the Wolverine Den since 2002.
Cherokee (6-2, 2-1 Region 4AAAAAAA) was dominant, only allowing 85 yards on the ground to Woodstock (1-6, 0-2). On top of the stellar run defense, the Warriors also forced five turnovers, three of which put them in position to score points.
“It was such a tremendous effort by the defense tonight,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said, “but they’ve been putting out that effort all season long, so we hang our hat on our ability to stop opposing offenses. Every year, there is a different side of the ball that carries the team. This year, it seems to be the defense, and this effort tonight was fantastic.”
Running back Keith Adams Jr. had a big night, running for 135 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown. He also forced one of the four fumbles for the defense.
The Cherokee passing game got off to a slow start, with several dropped passes halting the first couple of drives. It wasn’t until a fumble recovery by Adarrius Upshaw that the offense was finally able to move the ball.
After the fumble recovery in Woodstock territory, Adams ran the ball in from 3 yards out to put the Warriors on top 10-7.
Neither team scored in the second half, with both defenses limiting explosive plays. The Wolverines continued to turn the ball over at inopportune times, while the Warriors also struggled to move the ball up and down the field.
In the fourth quarter, with a fourth-down play upcoming and clinging on to a 13-7 lead, the Warriors handed it off to the man who was their workhorse for the night. With only a little over a minute left, Adams, with the help of his offensive line, broke off a 19-yard carry, cementing the victory.
Woodstock has long had the edge when playing Cherokee at home. This time however, the Warriors were able to finally come out on top, giving the team their second region win, which Shaw said was huge going into the team's second bye week.
“Winning here at Woodstock is a tough task,” Shaw said. “This is a special win, especially going into the bye week with two region wins. Having two region wins already should get us into the playoffs, so we are just really happy right now.”
After the bye week, Cherokee will travel to Walton, while Woodstock will host Lassiter next week.