MARIETTA — Cherokee was the runner-up in the 13th Annual Lutzie 7-on-7 Tournament on Tuesday at Lassiter after falling short in a 26-9 loss to Alpharetta in the championship game.
River Ridge and Sequoyah found success in the tournament, both advancing to their quarterfinals of the losers’ bracket.
Cherokee went 1-1-1 in pool play, then started its winning ways. After the Warriors received an automatic win in the first round following Pebblebrook’s forfeit, they followed with back-to-back wins against county rival Creekview and Harrison.
Cherokee was knocked out of the winners’ bracket after a 25-2 loss to Alpharetta in the semifinals.
Once the Warriors were in the losers’ bracket, they took care of business by beating Lithia Springs (24-10) and No. 1 seed Centennial (27-8).
On the road to the finals, Cherokee utilized its playmakers effectively and stuck to its game plan.
Coach Josh Shaw made sure to give proper credit to his three-star quarterback.
“AJ Swann put us in this position. This is a very offensive-orientated game,” Shaw said, “We just took it one play at a time, and our players showed up.”
Another reason for Cherokee’s dominance was the performance of three-star senior wide receiver Adarrius Harshaw. Although small in size, Harshaw’s speed and footwork make him elusive, and Swann was able to find him in space.
“They can’t guard me,” Harshaw said, “I use my speed to my advantage. Sometimes, I can’t stop myself.”
Tuesday’s event was Cherokee’s second 7-on-7 tournament of the summer, after it previously competed in the Corky Kell tournament earlier this month. Shaw said he recognized the improved mechanics of his wide receiving core.
“I saw a great improvement of our route running,” Shaw said “I was also impressed with our mental toughness. I saw our guys battle every play. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Cherokee is one of four Georgia high school programs slated to take part in the national Hustle Up 7-on-7 in Hoover, Alabama.
Sequoyah went 1-2 in pool play, winning its first two games of the winners’ bracket by one point apiece. Chiefs coach James Teter said the close victories were a testament to the players’ determination.
“Our defense really came together in the end,” Teter said, “Earlier, we had a few mishaps. However, our kids really gelled together.”
After the two close calls, Sequoyah fell out of the winners’ bracket after it could not ignite its offense against Campbell, and the Chiefs were eliminated after a 33-28 loss to Lithia Springs.
River Ridge finished with 1-0-2 in pool play and won its first-round matchup against North Atlanta 33-28. After a close loss against Harrison, the Knights beat Creekview (16-12) and Chattahoochee (23-14) before being eliminated 23-8 by Walton’s “A” team.
Creekview had one of the best pool-play showings in the tournament, going 3-0 and receiving the fourth seed. However, after a first-round bye, it lost its next two games to be eliminated.