The Cherokee Indians played their hearts out Friday night and came away with a much deserved 38-36 victory over the Lometa Hornets.
The Indians made the game closer than it should have been, failing to score 3 times inside the 20 yard line and going 1 for 6 on PATs. For the first time this season, the Indians had the entire squad suited up. A much improved blocking scheme allowed the Indians to score 4 touchdowns on pass plays.
Nieves Solis, Dillon Epperson, and Hector Jimenez all threw TD passes. The Indian defense was relentless in pursuing the Hornets, forcing 4 Hornet turnovers. Epperson had an interception and fumble recovery, Josh Perry came up with a fumble recovery, and Tucker Corsi recovered a fumble. Corsi blocked 2 PAT kicks, one of which was the game winner and Duncan Roberts blocked a PAT. Lometa scored first on a 24 yard pass play. The PAT failed.
The Indians worked their way down the field on their first possession and capped it off with an 11 yard TD run by Jimenez. The PAT failed, knotting the score at 6-6. Epperson ended the Hornet’s next possession with an interception, however, the Indians fumbled it away several plays later.
The Indians got the ball back when Perry recovered a Hornet fumble. With :10 remaining in the 1st quarter, the Indians took the lead on a 10 yard pass from Solis to Roberts. Epperson kicked the PAT to put the Indians up 14-6.
The Hornets scored twice in the 2nd quarter. The first TD of the two came on a 39 yard pass play. Corsi blocked the PAT kick. The second TD came on a 10 yard run. Roberts blocked the PAT attempt. The Hornets took a 14-18 lead into halftime.
The Indians regained the lead 1:20 into the 3rd quarter when Epperson threw a perfect strike to Roberts for a 31 yard TD play. The PAT failed, but the Indians were up 20-18. Corsi ended the Hornets next series with a fumble recovery, but the Indians failed to capitalize on the opportunity. With 2:19 remaining in the quarter, Lometa regained the lead on a 40 yard run. The PAT failed. The Hornets led 20-24 going into the 4th quarter.
2:09 into the 4th quarter, Lometa added to their lead, scoring on a 6 yard run. The PAT failed, but the Hornets lead was 10 at 20-30. After being sidelined a few plays from an injury, Jimenez returned to action and broke loose on a 65 yard TD run.
The PAT failed and the Indians trailed by 4, 26-30. Epperson added a spark for the Indians when he recovered a Hornet fumble to end their drive. With 3:31 remaining in the game, Jimenez connected with Roberts for a 25 yard TD pass. The PAT failed, but the Indians had regained the lead at 32-30.
After holding the Hornets, the Indians took over on downs got and with 1:29 remaining, made quick use of their passing game as Jimenez found Perry who took it the distance for a 50 yard scoring pass play. The PAT failed, giving the Indians an 8 point lead at 38-30.
The Hornets weren’t finished yet and used their passing game to spread the field and move the ball down the field. With :07 remaining in the game, the Hornets scored on a 1 yard pass play to get within a PAT kick of tying the game.
Corsi blasted off the line of scrimmage and came through untouched to block the kick, keeping the Indians’ 38-36 lead. Roberts safely fell on the ensuing onside kick and the Indians were able to let the clock expire.
The Indians are open this week. The next game will be Oct. 3rd at Mullin. Kickoff is at 7:30.