Cherokee County Warriors continue their march

Cherokee County continues their run at the Class 4A state championship. The Warriors were nearly perfect during the 2008 season with an undefeated record going into the championship game against UMS-Wright where they fell hard at the tune of 41-7. The Warriors return numerous playmakers including seniors Coty Blanchard, Gabriel Chambers, D.J. Fife, Desmond Brown and Caleb Crane.

One of the biggest tests of the season for Cherokee County was supposedly last Friday night's game against Oneonta. The match-up saw two undefeated teams both ranked in the Top 10. It was just another day of work for the Warriors as they blew out the Indians 42-14.

Cherokee County projects as the favorite in the remaining six games of the season, but like Southern Cal any team can go down on any particular night.

The Warriors have been focused since the loss in the Super Six last season. The team went undefeated in five passing tournaments held during the summer including one held at the University of Alabama with more than 50 teams across the country.

Coty Blanchard, two-star quarterback, has guided the Warriors to the undefeated record and has not thrown an interception all season. He is 50-of-71 for 727 yards and nine touchdowns.

Blanchard is completing 70.4-percent of his passes and has a 198.3 Quarterback rating in 2009. He has 41 rushing attempts for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Blanchard has played in two games on defense and recorded six tackles and two interceptions.

Blanchard's favorite target has been Gabriel Chambers, two-star wide receiver. Chambers is committed to Arkansas State and receiving attention from Jacksonville State as well. He has 20 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns and six rushing attempts for 93 yards and two touchdowns. He has five kickoff returns for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Blanchard is also averaging 41.2 yards per punt and averaging 140.5 all-purpose yards per game.

D.J. Fife has led the ground attack for the Warriors this season. Fife is an undersized athlete, but is a big playmaker. He has 31 rushing attempts for 363 yards and four touchdowns this year and 13 receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He returned one punt 69 yards for a touchdown as well. He is averaging 176.8 all-purpose yards per game.

Clemson commitment Desmond Brown, three-star safety, transferred from Model High School in Rome, Ga., last year and was not heavily involved with the team. He has made a big splash this season and could end up as the difference maker as Cherokee County continues their march towards the Super Six.

Brown has starred on both sides of the ball this season despite playing a limited role on offense. He has 21 rushing attempts for 111 yards and five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. Brown has 15 tackles, two interceptions and two pass break-ups on defense.

The spark plug for the defense is middle linebacker Caleb Crane. Crane had more than 200 tackles a year ago and was a finalist for Class 4A Lineman of the Year. He has recorded 38 tackles, nine tackles for loss and one interception this season.

Cherokee County has scored 169 points in the first four games while holding opponents to 73. They are averaging 42.3 points per game. The Warriors are averaging 227.5 rushing yards and 180.8 passing yards per game. The offense is averaging 408.3 yards per game while the defense is giving up 270.3.

The Warriors are also performing well on special teams which is putting the team in excellent field position. They are averaging 36.3 yards per kickoff return and 21.7 yards per punt return. They are 23-of-23 on extra points, but 0-of-2 on field goals.

Cherokee County needs to become more disciplined and improve in the area of penalities. They are giving up an average of 41.2 yards each game.

Stay tuned as we continue to track the Warriors throughout the 2009 season.

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