Game: Woodstock (2-3) at Cherokee (5-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Cherokee won 13-7 in 2019
All-time series: Tied 10-10
Prediction: Cherokee 24, Woodstock 14
Teams with a deep familiarity with each other will square off this week to begin Region 5AAAAAAA play.
Woodstock (2-4) travels to Cherokee (5-0) and both are coming off byes and should be as healthy as possible entering the next five weeks of region play.
Cherokee, ranked as high as No. 6 in Class AAAAAAA in certain publications, is off to its best start since 2007 and is coming off a 14-12 victory over Cartersville two weeks ago to end the Hurricanes state-record 62-game regular season winning streak.
“What we’ve accomplished to this point is a cool deal but we’re definitely not satisfied with where we’re at,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “I think for this week we need to find out where our mindset is because these games moving forward are the ones that count. We haven’t had a ton of success moving the ball against Woodstock and I don’t think we’re consistently good enough to get complacent.”
Running back Keith Adams Jr. has been the focal point of the Warriors’ offense. He has 648 yards and six touchdowns and has run for over 100 yards in four of the Warriors’ five games this season.
Cherokee’s defense is allowing 14 points per contest and held state-ranked Rome and Cartersville to a combined 27 points. Linebacker Braesen Parker is Cherokee County’s leading tackler with 63, while Tyler Goddard (52) and Toby Thompson (48) are right behind him. The defense is averaging two turnovers per game and should be considered among the best in Class AAAAAAA.
Woodstock fell 35-14 at Calhoun two weeks ago and is looking to win its opening region game for the first time since 2017.
Wolverines’ quarterback Dan Comeau has played well since being inserted into the starting role three weeks ago. In two games he is second in the county in pass completions (49) and is leading the county with a 66% completion percentage.
“He definitely can get the ball around to our skill guys but again he’s only had two starts so he’s still learning,” Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. “He’s been throwing good balls and completing it at a high percentage and we need that because it’s an extension of our running game.”
The top two pass catchers in the county are Woodstock’s Wes Bruno and Sebastian Moss. Bruno hauled in 15 passes for 114 yards against Calhoun and leads the county by a wide margin in receptions (30) while Moss is second (19). The Wolverines’ offense has been effective when Comeau plays in rhythm and Cherokee will need to be prepared to cover the entire field.
Defensively, Woodstock safety David Daniel (UGA commit) continues to be the best college prospect in the area. He had 15 tackles against Calhoun. For the season he has 45 tackles, two for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass breakups and one blocked punt.
Linebacker Carson Gray has been one of the most productive players in the area. He leads the county with 12 tackles for loss and is second in the county with five sacks.