E.A. Sports Today

Ohatchee has one slip away

Cherokee County rallies from a two-touchdown deficit; Indians lose double-digit lead for second time this year

Ohatchee running back Austin Tucker (3) looks to lose the pursuit of Cherokee County linebacker Austin Hightower. (Photo by Shannon Fagan)

Ohatchee running back Austin Tucker (3) looks to lose the pursuit of Cherokee County linebacker Austin Hightower. (Photo by Shannon Fagan)

By Shannon Fagan
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

CENTRE – Between film study and word of mouth, Cherokee County football coach Tripp Curry knew the Warriors were going to be in for a dogfight on homecoming Friday night against Ohatchee.

The 3A Indians feature a solid ball-control rushing attack, led by junior tailback Austin Tucker and have enough pass plays in their playbook to keep a defense honest.

Sure enough, Curry’s gut feeling was correct.

For the second straight week, the Warriors fell behind by two touchdowns in the first half. And, for the second straight week, they rallied to win.

They trailed by five early in the fourth quarter, but Brendan Bray’s 21-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-2 with 9:25 remaining gave them a lead they wouldn’t lose in a 28-19 victory.

“Everybody thinks we should have beat that team by 40 points, but they’re a good football team,” Curry said of the Indians (2-3). “They’re well coached and they’re going to give some people fits down the road.

“At first, they were whipping us up front, and that really hurt us, but we made a few adjustments at halftime. We looked at some plays they were hurting us with and corrected them.”

For Ohatchee it was another case of letting a nice lead get away. Earlier this year they had a double-digit lead on Westbrook Christian and lost by a point.

“When it was 13-0, we had all the momentum and complete control of the game, but we let them turn the momentum,” Indians coach Scott Martin said. “I’m very disappointed because we fully expected to come here and win the game.

“We had them where we wanted them for a long time. We were wearing them down, but they executed some plays, drove it down and scored and won the game. … It’s a credit to them for fighting through. They were kind of lethargic early, and that’s how homecoming goes, but our kids fought hard. We had opportunities, but we just didn’t answer them. It’s a tough loss.”

Bray’s touchdown put Cherokee County up 21-19 and quarterback Tyren Dupree’s 11-yard run with 4:56 left iced it.

Dupree completed 16 of 23 for 212 yards and a touchdown. After his touchdown run he intercepted a tipped ball to end any Ohatchee threat.

Tucker gave the Indians a 6-0 lead with a 27-yard run at the 2:53 mark of the first quarter. They extended it early in the second on Blayde Crump’s 6-yard run.

The Warriors finally got things going on their ensuing possession. An 8-play, 64-yard drive saw Dupree connect with receiver Justin McKnight for the final 10 yards. McKnight was the Warriors’ top receiver with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.

They took the lead for the first time on a fourth-and-1 from the Ohatchee 2 when Jacob Graves went right up the middle to score. James Sewell’s extra point gave them a 14-13 lead at the half.

The Indians were primed to retake the lead early in the third quarter. They reached the Warriors 3, but Tucker was tackled for a 6-yard loss on fourth-and-goal. They did retake the lead later in the quarter, but the missed opportunity earlier stung.

“Probably the big play in the game was on fourth-and-3 where they stuffed us,” Martin said. “That was a schematic problem. It’s my fault. I pulled something I shouldn’t have pulled. The guy didn’t even get blocked. It wasn’t like he made a great play, other than he made the tackle.

“Schematically I pulled a lineman and when I pulled him there wasn’t anybody there to block him. We had a breakdown there schematically. That starts with me.”

Tucker led the Indians with 127 yards on 23 carries. Quarterback Taylor Eubanks added 115 yards on 14 carries.


Ohatchee 6 7 0 6 — 19
Cherokee Co. 0 14 0 14 — 28

O – Austin Tucker 27 run (kick failed)
O – Blayde Crump 6 yards (Dakota Wise kick)
CC – Justin McKnight 8 pass from Tyren Dupree (James Sewell kick)
CC – Jacob Graves 2 run (Sewell kick)
O – Taylor Eubanks 1 run (pass failed)
CC – Brendan Bray 20 run (Sewell kick)
CC – Dupree 11 run (Sewell kick)

Team stats Ohat CC
First downs 11 18
Rushes-yds 39-232 34-153
C-A-I 1-5-1 16-23-1
Passing yds 59 202
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Punts-avg 3-10.0 1-26.0
Penalties-yds 3-30 4-30

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