E.A. Sports Today

Sweet success

Pancakes and syrup, coach’s challenge, lead Cherokee County to region victory over Saks

By East Alabama Sports Today

CENTRE — It was set up to be a classic region battle between teams riding winning streaks after losing their first two games of the season and offenses operating on all cylinders. Something had to give.

With all that going on and two great coaches going against each other, what would make the difference in this Class 4A Region 5 showdown? It wasn’t what you might think.

“Coach (Trip Curry) promised us pancakes and syrup tonight if we won,” Cherokee County running back Jacob Graves said.

Curry challenged his team to be dominant and they responded with two explosive runs by Graves and junior quarterback Tyren Dupree in the first half, and a smothering defensive effort to beat Saks 30-7.

The victory puts the Warriors (5-2, 4-0) in prime position for a home playoff game and possibly a region championship.

“The last couple years we were that team that wants to beat everybody else; now we’re the school everybody wants to beat,” Curry said. “I’m happy with the way we’re playing, with what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Things are going good.”

The first half was all Cherokee County as the Warriors put together four ball-control drives down the field chewing up yards and time, but missed two scoring opportunities due to a penalty and an interception.

Graves went 64 yards on the fourth play of the game for a touchdown, Dupree raced 62 yards for another and James Sewell added a 27-yard field goal for the 16-0 halftime lead.

“You never know with our bunch who’s going to establish the rhythm early,” Curry said. “We kind of established it early with a big, long run by Jacob, but … we never know who is going to break one.

“Tonight we thought they were trying to take away Quartez (Henderson). They were double covering him, so when they double covered him, we ran a sweep that way and that pulled another guy out and Jacob broke.”

After a Dupree 1-yard touchdown run, Saks began to put some offense together. The Wildcats (3-3, 2-2) got inside the Warrior 15 twice — after a 67-yard run by quarterback Dee Bell and a 51-yard Bell pass to Tramarian Huguley – but both drives ended with interception. A third drive ended on downs at the 10.

Bell scored from five yards out in the fourth quarter, but Dupree added his third touchdown run later in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Bell ended up with 71 yards rushing and 113 yards passing. Dupree finished with 148 yards rushing and threw for 79 more.

“Any time we had a chance to make a play, we didn’t make it,” Saks head coach Jonathan Miller said. “They’re a really good football team. We got behind them a few times and we’d either drop the ball or overthrow it. We had chances to make plays, but we just didn’t get it done.

“They’re starting 10 seniors and that makes a difference. We’re kind of in the opposite boat than them right now, but you’ve just got to deal with that. They’ve got a really good defense, and we knew coming in it was going to be a struggle to move the football. We still had some opportunities to get them concerned a little bit, but we didn’t get the job done.”

Cherokee County 30, Saks 7

Saks 0 0 0 7 — 7
Cherokee County 10 6 7 7 — 30

CC — Jacob Graves 64 run (James Sewell kick), 9:55 1Q
CC — James Sewell 28 FG, 1:33 1Q
CC — Tyren Dupree 62 run (kick failed), 3:16 2Q
CC — Tyren Dupree 1 run (James Sewell kick), 8:04 3Q
S — Dee Bell 5 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 5:37 4Q
CC — Tyren Dupree 15 run (James Sewell kick), 2:30 4Q

Team stats Saks CC
First Downs 9 17
Rushes-yds 32-113 36-300
Passing 6-24-2 9-17-1
Passing yds 113 79
Fumbles-lost 0 0
Punts-avg 7-31.3 4-34.8
Penalties-yds 4-40 4-30

On the cover: Saks quarterback Dee Bell.

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