It was a special night for Cherokee Christian as it remained undefeated, at 4-0, with a 21-14 win over Rock Springs Christian Academy. The Friday night win marked coach Steve Gaddis’ 150th career victory as a head coach.
Gaddis has coached in 365 games with 240 total wins as both a head and assistant coach. After being in a head coaching position for 23 years, Gaddis was recognized in the Warriors’ huddle following his milestone victory.
Despite the accomplishment, Gaddis remained his humble self.
“The kids recognized him in the huddle after the game,” Gaddis’ wife, Gloria, said. “Right after that, he told his players that the hamburgers were ready. He just does not even like to talk about himself.”
The win over Rock Springs was the second straight close game for Cherokee Christian. After winning their first two games by a combined score of 72-0, the Warriors have now shown they can take more competitive matchups.
The Eagles beat the Warriors 48-6 two years ago. This season, Cherokee Christian was out to prove it was the better team.
“We were on the revenge tour,” Gaddis said. “We wanted to get them back. This senior group took it on the chin two years ago as sophomores. We jumped out to a seven-point lead early, and we played great defense.”
The Warrior defense was exceptional in Friday’s win. The Warriors kept Rock Springs without a single positive rushing yard while recording nine tackles for loss and seven sacks. Josh Goggins led the Warriors with 11 tackles and two sacks.
“Our defense right now has only given up 21 points in five ball games,” Gaddis said. “If we had not given up two plays, then we would have had another shutout. We are going to have to continue playing good defense.”
Cherokee Christian was close to a third shutout in four games but barely missed that mark because of two long Rock Springs touchdown plays. Gaddis thinks his defense can find another gear as it heads into an even tougher stretch of games.
The Warriors have 27 tackles for loss through four games this year and 13 sacks spread across six different defensive players.
“We have to step it up a notch,” Gaddis said. “We are going to face Bethlehem Christian, who is undefeated, and then Saint Francis, which is a Class A private school. We are going to have tougher competition over the next two weeks.”
Cherokee Christian is the only undefeated team in the GAPPS AAA division. The Warriors are tied with The King’s Academy, at 1-0, for the lead. They will undoubtedly be tested over the next few weeks, starting a clash with the undefeated Bethlehem Christian on Oct. 1.
“For us to get where we want to go, we have to improve every week,” Gaddis said. “Us as coaches have to do a good job of watching film and preparing for us to be successful in the coming weeks.”