E.A. Sports Today

Warriors win wild one

Cherokee County rallies from early deficit to dump Jacksonville for first victory of the season

Special to East Alabama Sports Today

CENTRE – The Cherokee County Warriors have had a tough opening month to the football season, but they finally got into the win column Friday night.

The Warriors churned out 546 yards and held Jacksonville to 151 in a 35-20 victory.

Sophomore quarterback Tyren Dupree led the charge. He rushed for 176 yards on 17 carries, completed 9 of 15 passes for 169 yards and found the end zone both ways. Running back Thomas Graves rushed for 168 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns.

Jacksonville opened a 13-0 halftime lead, but the Warriors found a way to tie it twice going into the fourth quarter. Then it got crazy.

Graves fumbled on his own 40 and the ball was recovered by Jacksonville. What happened next is something Cherokee County coach Tripp Curry says he’s “never seen in 27 years of coaching” – the defender went 60 yards the wrong way, only to be tackled in his end zone for a safety.

The game started off great for Jacksonville. Taye Ackles returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Nick Gangwer returned another one for a touchdown later in the game.

Ackles wound up rushing for 68 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Quen Veasley rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries and completed 5 of 17 passes for 44 yards.

Niko Richmond gave the Golden Eagles a 13-0 lead with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Cherokee County began its second-half rally quickly. Graves scored on a 2-yard run and Dupree connected on a 7-yard pass to Quartez Powell-Henderson for another touchdown. Powell-Henderson would finish with 122 receiving yards.

Graves gave Cherokee County the lead on a 1-yard run with 38 seconds left, but the Golden Eagles retired it when Gangwer went 78 yards with the ensuring kickoff.

The safety occurred on the next drive, putting the Warriors ahead 22-20.

Dupree capped the Warriors’ next possession with a 3-yard touchdown run and Graves closed the scoring with another 1-yard run.

“We’re really pumped right now, but what we have to do is be consistent,” Curry said. “If we’re not going to be consistent, like having a great game tonight and not doing great the next week, then we’re just going to squeak by, so what we have to preach is consistency.”


Jacksonville 7 6 7 0 — 20
Cherokee County 0 0 20 15 — 35

J – Taye Ackles 93 kickoff return (Gao kick)
J – Niko Richmond 1 run (kick failed)
C – Jacob Graves 2 run (James Sewell kick)
C – Quartez Henderson 7 pass from Tyren Dupree (kick failed)
C – Graves 1 run (Sewell kick)
J – Nick Gangwer 79 kickoff return (Gao kick)
C – Safety
C – Dupree 3 run (kick failed)
C – Graves 1 run (PAT good)

Category Jax Che
First downs 9 22
Rushes-yds 31-107 44-377
C-A-I 5-17-0 9-15-0
Passing yds 44 169
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Punts-avg. 7-38.9 4-16.9
Penalties-yds 6-65 6-45

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