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Creekview’s defense has dominated the first two weeks of the season. Friday, the Grizzlies will face the best offense in the county in Cherokee.

Game: Cherokee (3-0) at Creekview (2-0)

Last meeting: Creekview 30, Cherokee 0 (Sept. 1, 2017)

All-time series: Creekview leads 3-1

Prediction: Cherokee 28, Creekview 17

Two remaining unbeatens in Cherokee County will square off Friday when Cherokee travels to Creekview.

The Warriors (3-0) are coming off a 21-15 win over Class AAAAAA No. 3 Rome. So far this season, Cherokee is averaging 33 points per game.

“It was finally good for us to get over the hump against a team of that quality,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “I think that’s the first time we’ve played a team of that quality where our team expected to win from the very outset.”

Junior quarterback A.J. Swann leads the county in passing with 236 yards per game along with seven touchdowns. His primary target has been fellow junior Adarrius Harshaw (269 yards and three touchdowns) but seniors Brady Borcherer and Hayden Shockley each have found the end zone and have combined to average seven receptions and 90 yards per game.

“We’re fortunate to have some really good skill guys and a trigger man who knows how to get it to them,” Shaw said. “Hayden and Brady both play the slot and they both do it very well. We’re able to get some mismatches for them on linebackers and that’s a matchup we hope to win every time.”

Cherokee’s running game is one of the most potent in the area, with junior Keith Adams Jr. averaging 116 yards per game. Defensively, senior linebacker Braesen Parker enters the game with a county-high 43 tackles. Parker will be flanked by outside linebackers Tyler Goddard and Will Ross who will likely be asked to help slow down Creekview’s rushing attack.

Creekview (2-0) will enter the game following a 16-2 road victory at Woodstock. While Cherokee boasts the county’s best offense, Creekview has produced the county’s best defense. Woodstock’s only points came by way of a Creekview safety, and through two games the Grizzlies’ defense is allowing 126 yards and 6.5 points per game.

“I think bringing back key players at all three phases (of defense) gives you a leg up this early in the season,” coach Trevor Williams said. “It’s gonna get a big test this Friday. Their quarterback is really good and hopefully our offense can string together first downs to keep their offense off the field.”

Rome held Adams to 39 yards and subsequently Cherokee played its closest game of the season. Creekview senior linebacker Grant Anderson leads the team in tackles and has been supported by senior defensive lineman Sam Minozzi along with sophomore linebacker Isaac Hubert.

Junior safety Cale Williams and senior corner Nick Stewart will be key pieces to watch as the Grizzlies attempt to slow down Cherokee’s passing attack.

Creekview’s offense has been led by its junior running back Tyler Stevens (137 yards per game) but senior quarterback Brody Rhodes is always a threat in the running and passing games. Rhodes accounted for 213 yards of total offense last week.

“Yeah, Brody was back to old self last week,” Williams said. “As good as he is, teams gameplan for him, so for Tyler and the running game to get going between the tackles it really opens up options for Brody.”

The Grizzlies’ offense will miss one of its primary targets moving forward, with senior wide receiver Andrew Cloy suffering a collarbone injury in last week’s game.

“Great kid, captain and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached,” Williams said. “His response to adversity was exactly what you would expect though. He’s still a huge part of this team.”

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