Balanced offense, aggressive defense sparks 31-21 victory over Cherokee
Roswell maintained 1st place in Region 5-6A Friday night at the Hornets Nest with solid play in a 31-21 victory over the Cherokee Warriors. The Hornets wasted little time in putting points on the board, as a short punt by the Warriors put the Hornets in good field position on their own 46 for their first offensive series. Three plays later, quarterback James Whitaker flipped a short pass to Sheldon Evans coming out of the backfield, who rumbled for 53 yards and the touchdown to make it 7-0. Cherokee’s attempt to answer late in the quarter was thwarted when Xavier McKinney came up with a huge open field tackle on 4th and goal and stopped the Warrior threat a yard short of the end zone.
In the second quarter, Roswell’s defense again stepped up when Shakur Jackson intercepted a deflected Cherokee pass and returned it 18 yards to the Warrior 42 yard line. 10 plays later, Roswell cashed in when Evans notched his second score of the game on a 1 yard run. After Cherokee scored on a 79-yard pass play, the Hornets added a 37-yard field goal from Jack Pigott to make it 17-7. On the next series, a miscue by Cherokee’s punting team provided Roswell with the ball at the Cherokee 1 yard line. One play later, Evans again punched it in, and Roswell headed into the locker room with a 24-7 halftime lead.
Cherokee scored in the third period to cut the Hornet lead to 24-14, but Roswell answered early in the 4th with a sustained drive capped by a 4 yard touchdown pass from Whitaker to Jacari Harris to extend the lead to 17 once again. Cherokee refused to give up however, scoring on a 1 yard run to make it 31-21 Hornets with about 8:50 to play in the game. Roswell’s next drive stalled at Cherokee’s 38 yard line, and the team was forced to punt. Cherokee appeared to be on the way to scoring again, but once again the Roswell D stepped up when it had to, this time securing the victory when McKinney intercepted a deflected Cherokee pass at the Hornet 18.
With the victory, the Hornets move to 6-2 overall, and 5-1 in region play. Check back here during the week for further updates, including photos, game highlights, and more!