Cherokee outlasts triple-overtime game against Woodstock

Cherokee outlasts triple-overtime game against Woodstock

By Cherokee Tribune Sports


Photo by Kathryn Ingall

CANTON — Four quarters of football were not enough Friday, as Cherokee needed three overtimes to come away with a 50-42 win over Woodstock at Tommy Baker Field.

Regulation ended with the teams tied at 28-all. Both scored on each of their possessions of the first two overtimes, but after a Cherokee touchdown and 2-point conversion in the third overtime, Aaron Knowles intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the game and a state playoff berth for the Warriors.

“What a fantastic game,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “I thought we were a little sluggish in the first half. Our kids just persevered and never stopped. It was the best game I’ve seen this year.”

Cherokee (5-3, 3-0 Region 4AAAAAAA) got the overtime scoring started with a 15-yard pass from Nolan Donley to Aaron Knowles, but Woodstock (5-3, 2-1) answered with a touchdown pass of its own from Liam Byrne to Ryan Rauscher.

Byrne found Louis Hall from 15 yards out to start the second overtime, but Cherokee answered with a 1-yard scoring run from Jack Carroll. Donley then hit Montrell Washington for the game-winning score in the third overtime.

“We just never stopped fighting,” Donley said. “Our line stepped up and did a good job. Our skill position guys made big plays when we needed them to. It was just a good performance from everyone.”

Donley finished the game 21-of-41 passing for 178 yards and four touchdowns. Washington finished with 86 total yards and two touchdowns, while Knowles added six catches for 72 yards and a pair of scores.

Carroll also had a memorable game for the Warriors. In addition to playing the entire game at middle linebacker, the senior also handled all of the punting duties, completed a pass for a 2-point conversion, ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards and three touchdowns and was named homecoming king at halftime.

Woodstock had little trouble moving the ball, but three interceptions — including two picked off by Brendan Kenney — proved costly.

“I thought we played sloppy on both sides of the ball,” Woodstock coach Brent Budde said. “I liked the effort we gave. We never gave up, but we made too many mistakes for a game like this. We have to get that stuff cleaned up.”

Byrne played well again in his third game starting. He was 31-of-44 with passes to eight different receivers for 361 yards and six touchdowns.

Hall caught nine passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Noah Frith also caught nine passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, but the Wolverines could not find a running game to complement their dynamic passing attack, only rushing for 19 yards.

With a spot in the playoffs now locked up, Cherokee will look to clinch a home game next week when it hosts Lassiter.

Woodstock will travel to undefeated Roswell looking to get back to its winning ways and clinch a playoff berth of its own.

“This game is over,” Budde said. “It’s behind us. We have to refocus, try to improve on the mistakes we made and get ready for our last two games.”

Copyright © 2016 Marietta Daily Journal 10/23/2016

Creekview, River Ridge advance in pursuit of Class AAAAAA state championship

By Alex Resnak

The second round of the state softball playoffs proved to be a tougher test for Cherokee County teams than the first round, as half of the four teams remaining saw their seasons end with sweeps.

But for the two teams left — Creekview and River Ridge — sweeps of their own offered hope for a potential state championship as they move onto the final eight of the Class AAAAAA tournament in Columbus.

Creekview (27-6) looked especially impressive in its sweep of Effingham County, winning 10-1 and 8-4 on Wednesday, but coach Chance Cain said there is still plenty he would like to see improved before beginning play in Columbus against Cambridge next Thursday.

“We’re not actually swinging the bats quite as well as I would like,” Cain said. “We were able to get a lot of runs, but I would like to see us be more consistent. It seems like we can get a little hot and cold at times, and I would just like to see us pick that up a little bit.”

Consistency may have been lacking Wednesday, but Creekview played well enough when it mattered.

In Game 1, the Lady Grizzlies scored eight runs in the second inning, then scored seven in the first inning of Game 2.

Faith Richards led the way offensively with a total of three hits, two runs and four RBIs, but she was not alone as seven players scored in Game 1 and eight scored in Game 2.

Creekview also showed its pitching depth, as Ashton Maloney, Anna Belle Tippens and Erin Griffin all saw action in the sweep.

“Depth is huge this time of year,” Cain said. “We have three pitchers who all looked good. We have a lot of players who we trust on offense, too. Sometimes, we have to sit some players who are hitting well, but when we need them, we have players we really like coming off the bench.”

River Ridge (21-11) had to go on the road to Brunswick, but it did not matter as the Lady Knights won 7-2 and 8-2.

The Lady Knights will be making their debut in Columbus when they face either Lee County or Alexander

“I really like the way we’re playing right now,” River Ridge coach Andrew Marinelli said. “I think we have the pitching and hitting we need. The girls are all playing for each other. We just have a good thing going right now.”

River Ridge’s deep lineup was led by Bayleigh Lott, who hit a two-run home run in Game 1 to push the lead to 7-0. That was more than enough for Savannah Flaherty, who has gone 4-0 with just one run allowed and 31 strikeouts in 20 innings during the playoffs.

The Lady Knights were the only No. 4 seed in any classification to reach Columbus, but Marinelli said they do not feel like it.

After emerging from Region 6AAAAAA, which has sent all four of its state playoff teams to Columbus, Marinelli said his team is ready for anybody.


“We can play with anyone,” he said. “Our region, with us, Creekview, Harrison and Dalton, are all good. We’ve been playing the top teams in the state all season. It won’t be anything new for us, no matter who we see.”

The county’s Class AAAAAAA teams were not as successful.

Cherokee played from behind in its two losses to North Gwinnett, and while Etowah opened up a 7-0 lead in Game 1 and had the tying run on third in the seventh inning of Game 2, it also was swept by Mill Creek.

Copyright © 2016 Marietta Daily Journal 10/23/2016

Woodstock teams, Etowah individuals qualify for state championships

By Alex Resnak

CANTON — The boys and girls teams from both Woodstock and Walton will be moving on to the state championships after qualifying against stiff competition in Saturday’s Area 3AAAAAAA meet at Boling Park.

Milton and Lambert dominated the boys race, combining to claim the top four individual spots, with Lambert edging Milton 53-68 for the team title. Walton (85) was third, ahead of fellow qualifiers South Forsyth (104), Woodstock (128) and West Forsyth (141).

With the eight regions of Class AAAAAAA combined into four areas, the top six teams from Saturday’s meet advanced to compete in Carrollton on Nov. 4. The top 12 individuals, regardless of if they are attached to an advancing team, also qualified.

“They ran very well,” Walton coach Travis Gower said. “I’m pleased with it. They came in and did what they needed to qualify. We know we’re in the toughest (area), and if we can hang with these guys, we have a decent shot at the podium in two weeks.”

The Raiders were led by Andrew Singh, who finished sixth in 15 minutes, 54.98 seconds, but Singh said he could have done better.

“I didn’t really stick to my game plan,” he said. “I wanted to be a little closer to the front pack, but I think I’ll be able to do better at state.”

Teammate Ben Dahlgren (15:55.91) was less than a second behind in seventh, while Harrison Holden (16:30.94) was 17th to give Walton a strong lead group.

Woodstock also benefited from running in the pack mentality.

Austin Bailey (11th, 16:11.59), Evan Cowart (16th, 16:26.57), Patrick Nolan (21st, 16:34.34) and Josiah Jaqua (23rd, 16:35.76) all finished within 12 spots of one another, but Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said it will take five strong runs to do anything at state.

“Our top four all ran great,” Scharich said. “We’re just going to need five at state. I think we can do it, though. I think it’s more mental than anything.”

Etowah (186) fell one spot short of qualifying, but it was not because of Nick Cooke.

Coming off the Cherokee County championship, Cooke finished fifth in 15:53.82 and will run at the state championship as an individual.

“There were a lot of good runners here,” Cooke said. “That can help you run faster because they set the pace. I’m sure it will be the same at state.”

Etowah’s girls had a similar problem.

Despite having two runners in the top 10, the Lady Eagles (182) just missed out with a seventh-place finish, behind qualifiers Milton (53), South Forsyth (60), West Forsyth (108), Walton (119), Lambert (139) and Woodstock (144).

Macki Walsh, ran a season-best 17:53.94 to capture the area championship and will be joined in Carrollton by Sydney Runyan, who finished ninth in 19:01.22.

“I think that was the fastest I’ve ever ran,” Walsh said. “I really wanted to get into the 17s, because colleges really like that. I’m running as well as I have all season.”

Walton was led by Abigail Robertson (fifth, 18:28.10), while also getting strong performances from Stephanie L’Estrange (18th, 19:29.55) and Allison Mitchell (19th, 19:29.61).

“I tried to stay with the lead group as much as possible,” Robertson said. “I knew, if I did, I would have a better chance to (set a personal record). At the very end, I just gave it all I had.”

Brynne Sumner (seventh, 18:46.06) led Woodstock to its state meet berth, along with Anna Burnett (13th, 19:13.56) and Anna Bailey (29th, 19:58.21).

“It was a really strong field,” Scharich said. “All of our girls showed up and ran well (Saturday) to get us through, and we live to fight another day.”

Copyright © 2016 Marietta Daily Journal 10/23/2016

October 2016 Athletes of the Month

Cherokee HS | Creekview HS | Etowah HS | River Ridge HS | Sequoyah HS | Woodstock HS

Cherokee High School

Photo of CHS Female Athlete of the Month, Taylor Cates

Taylor Cates, Junior, Softball

Taylor is the daughter of Matt and Kate Cates. Taylor carries a 4.0 GPA, and is a junior at Cherokee High School. Taylor is a standout 2nd basemen for the Lady Warriors Softball Team, leading the team to the Region Championship this season, and a Sweet Sixteen Appearance. Taylor is a 3-year starter on the Softball team, and was an All-County, All-Region and Honorable Mention player for the Lady Warriors last season. Taylor followed it up this season by being named All Region 4AAAAAAA and Region Player of the Year batting .355 with 5 Homeruns 50 RBI’s. She is also a member of the Varsity Basketball program.

Photo of CHS Male Athlete of the Month, Jack Carroll

Jack Carroll, Senior, Football

Jack is the son of Tom and Terri Carroll. Jack carries a 3.8 GPA, and is a senior at Cherokee High School. Jack is a standout Middle Linebacker and Running Back for the Warriors Football team, leading the team into the Region Championship game this coming Friday night, and helping the Warriors clinch hosting a 1st Round state playoff game. Jack was named 2014 1st Team All County and 2015 1st Team All County and All Region. Jack is also a 3-year starter for the Warriors in basketball being named 2nd Team All county in 2013-2014, Honorable Mention All-County in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.


Creekview High School

Photo of CVHS Female Athlete of the Month, Kaylee Kiefer

Kaylee Kiefer, Freshman, Competition Cheerleading

Kaylee made Varsity competition cheerleading as a freshman for the 2016 season.  Kaylee is not only extremely talented, but she has shown incredible drive to always do whatever she can for her teammates. She comes to every practice with a positive attitude and determination to do her absolute best.  She has helped her team to 1st place in 5 out of 6 competitions this year.




Photo of CVHS Male Athlete of the Month, Zac Cantrell

Zac Cantrell, Junior, Cross Country

Zac led his team to a second place finish in the Cherokee County Cross Country Championships. Zac finished in second place overall with a new personal record of 16:14. Two weeks later, Zac again led his team as they finished as region champs at the 6AAAAAA Region Championships. Zac finished in third place with a time of 16:37. Zac will lead his team on November 5th as they compete at the State Championship in Carrollton.




Etowah High School

Photo of the EHS Athletes of the Month, Christian Gomez and Macki Walsh

Christian Gomez, Senior, Cheerleading
Macki Walsh, Senior, Cross Country

Christian help lead the EHS Competition Cheer squad to three 2nd place finishes and one 3rd place finish in the team’s four meets this month. A two-year letterman for the Eagles and a long-time member of the Stingrays, Christian is hoping to lead the Eagles to the State title beginning with the sectional meet on Saturday, November 4th. Christian hopes to continue his career on a competition team in college.

Macki completed her month in outstanding fashion with a win at the loaded Area 3-AAAAAAA Championship. With her 1st place finish, Macki qualified for the State Championship on Friday, November 4th. Also, during the month Macki finished 6th place at the Nike Fleet Feet – Coach Wood Invitational and 3rd and the prestigious Wendy’s Invitational in Charlotte, NC. Macki has numerous college scholarship offers on the table.


River Ridge High School

Photo of RRHS Female Athlete of the Month, Lauren Talele

Lauren Talele, Junior, Volleyball

Lauren is a Junior at River Ridge High School. She is the starting setter and team captain for the volleyball team and has been a varsity starter for one season. She is already on her way to potentially setting a new school record for most assists in a season. She currently has 729 assists from this past season. Lauren is the type of player that every coach dreams of having on their team. She responds positively to any negative situation. Lauren leads by example by giving all she has for her team and the sport. When Lauren is not at the River Ridge gym, she is at her club team’s gym working on her game. Lauren dedicates her time to the sport because she wants to play at the next level.

Lauren is a true definition of what a student-athlete is. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Crusading Knights Leadership. She was also named 6-AAAAAA First Team All-Area for the 2016 season.

Photo of RRHS Male Athlete of the Month, Rob Zell

Rob Zell, Junior, Cross Country

Rob Zell placed 4th in the Region meet and qualified for the State Finals as the first boy (individual) from River Ridge in 5 years. His time of 16:46 was his second fastest of the year following his 6th place finish at the Cherokee County Meet. He will be competing at the 7A GHSA state tournament in Carrollton on Saturday, November 5th.





Sequoyah High School

Photo of SHS Female Athlete of the Month, Karen Morris

Karen Morris, Junior, Volleyball

One of the two captains on the varsity volleyball team this year, junior Karen Morris was a leader of the defense as the Libero.  Vocal on and off the court, her grittiness helped keep the team in matches and at times provided the spark necessary to be compete at a high level.  With an accurate and difficult serve to pass, Karen combined excellent passing and defense with her serving and was voted to the All-Area 1st Team.  Her performance helped to lead the Chiefs Volleyball team to the second round of the State Playoffs this month.



Photo of SHS Male Athlete of the Month, McGwire Wells

McGwire Wells, Senior, Football

McGwire Wells is Sequoyah High School’s Male Athlete of the Month.  He currently averages over 10 tackles per game and also has 6 tackles for a loss, as well as 2 sacks.  During the month of October, McGwire has led the team in tackles while helping the team turn in some of the strongest defensive performances of the season.





Woodstock High School

Photo of WHS Female Athlete of the Month, Brynne Sumner

Brynne Sumner, Sophomore, Cross Country

Brynne has been selected as Woodstock High School’s female athlete of the month. Brynne led our Cross Country Varsity girls team to a county championship with a runner up finish and a career best time of 18:46. Brynne is an outstanding student athlete who holds herself to the highest of standards both in the classroom and on the cross country course. She and her team will be competing at the 7A GHSA state tournament in Carrollton on Friday, November 4th.




Photo of WHS Male Athlete of the Month, Liam Byrne

Liam Byrne, Senior, Football

Liam has been selected as Woodstock High School’s male athlete of the month for his outstanding play and leadership on and off the football field.  Liam has been an offensive standout this season. Statistics through October 27th include over 900 yards passing, 868 yards on 67 of 105 passing and 13 passing TD’s. As a receiver, Liam has 209 yards receiving on the year with 3 TD’s.  He also has a punting average of just over 37 yards per punt.  Liam carries an incredible 4.392 GPA in the classroom.  His character, academics, athletic ability and leadership skills make him an obvious choice for Woodstock High School’s Student Athlete of the Month.