CANTON – Ebony Jackson scored touchdowns on both sides of the ball, leading Cherokee to a 21-14 victory over Roswell on Friday night at Tommy Baker Field.
Emotions were running high between the teams, with the Warriors flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the third play of the game. The teams continued to jaw at one another, adding a level of emotion to an already exciting and important matchup.
Cherokee (5-2, 1-1 Region 4AAAAAAA) started off slow offensively, with the unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty forcing it to go three-and-out on its first possession of the game.
After the first quarter, it was still scoreless, with neither team able to find any success offensively.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Warriors were able to find a balance of run and pass plays, which ultimately led to an explosion of 21 unanswered points leading into halftime.
This scoring run started when wide receiver Brady Brocherer caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback A.J. Swann to take the 7-0 lead.
Cherokee then stopped Roswell (3-2, 0-1) on fourth down, leading to yet another touchdown throw from Swann. On this touchdown toss, Jackson was able to break away from a would-be tackle to take it 95 yards for the 14-0 lead.
On the next Hornets possession, Jackson intercepted quarterback Ethan Roberts and returned it 28 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
“Jackson made two great plays back-to-back that really helped us get going in this game,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “The determination he showed on the 95-yard touchdown reception brought some much-needed life into this offense.”
Everything was going Cherokee's way, but Roswell did not give up. It held the Warriors scoreless in the second half, while also scoring 14 unanswered with only a few minutes left in the game.
It was too little too late, though, as the Warriors were able to get enough stops on defense throughout the night to pull out the win.
The four turnovers for the Hornets proved crucial in deciding the outcome of the game.
“We were gritty,” Shaw said. “We made the plays when we needed to make the plays. Those four turnovers really helped us pull out this victory tonight.”
This victory gave Cherokee just its third win in 20 games against Roswell.
The Warriors will travel to Woodstock next week, while Roswell will look to bounce back against Lassiter.