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Etowah Outguns Cherokee In An Instant Classic

Etowah and Cherokee met for the 40th time in Cherokee County's oldest rivalry at Tommy Baker Field, and this game was another instant classic.

The game started off with a promising start for the Warriors, as Reed Chandley converted a 26-yard field goal, giving Cherokee an early 3-0 lead with 7:23 remaining in the first quarter. However, the Eagles were quick to respond, as Liam Kinsella leveled the score with a 25-yard field goal, bringing the game to a 3-3 tie with 3:50 left in the first quarter.

The end of the first quarter saw an evenly balanced contest, with the scoreboard reflecting a 3-3 stalemate. As the offenses heated up in the second quarter, Tanner Savasir came through with a 5-yard touchdown run, putting Cherokee back in the lead at 10-3 with 11:07 left in the half.

The Eagles fought back with determination; Quarterback/Athlete Xavier Mahoney showcased his athleticism, scoring a 1-yard touchdown run that leveled the playing field at 10-10 with 8:27 remaining in the second quarter. As the teams headed into halftime, the score remained deadlocked at 10-10, setting the stage for another exciting finish.

Returning from halftime, the Warriors' Reed Chandley displayed his accuracy once again, nailing a 28-yard field goal that edged Cherokee ahead 13-10 with 7:47 left in the third quarter. But the Eagles were not to be outdone. Quarterback Jack Strickland's 8-yard touchdown run swung the momentum back in Etowah's favor, giving them a 17-13 lead with 5:08 left in the same quarter.

The seesaw battle continued, as Cherokee's Christian Irwin found the end zone with a 9-yard touchdown run. Despite a missed PAT, the Warriors managed to regain a narrow lead, making it 19-17 with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter. In a quick response, Strickland connected with Mahoney for a 28-yard touchdown pass, followed by a successful 2-point conversion pass from Mahoney to Malone Pesqueira, liftting the Eagles to a 25-19 advantage by the end of the third quarter.

As the final quarter unfolded, Cherokee's Savasir dashed for a 10-yard touchdown run, snatching back the lead for the Warriors at 26-25 with just 1:09 left on the clock. The closing moments of the game turned out to be another wild ride. Jack Strickland led the Eagles down the field where Etowah's Kinsella stepped up and secured his team's victory with a 31-yard field goal, sealing the final score at 28-26 with only 11 seconds remaining.

Etowah's Joshua Harding tallied two crucial sacks, while Vinny Pacini and Davinci Allen added interceptions to their team's impressive defensive display. Cherokee's defense also made its mark, with Javon Hobson recording a sack and Weston Bergman securing an interception.

Etowah moves to 2-0 for the second time in as many years, Cherokee falls to 0-2 but with both losses coming to teams who look to be contenders. Etowah now leads the series all time 21-19, and each of the last three years this rivalry has come down to the wire.

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