Cherokee Warriors (4-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Josh Shaw
Record: 8-3, No. 4 seed from Region 4-AAAAAAA
Last week: Beat Westlake 41-23
Archer Tigers (8-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Andy Dyer
Record: 8-3, No. 2 seed from Region 8-AAAAAAA
Last week: Beat Collins Hill 31-28
Forget that Cherokee is the No. 4 seed from its region (4-AAAAAAA). The Warriors pose quite the challenge for Archer, especially the Tigers’ defense.
Cherokee boasts a 2,000-yard passer (sophomore QB A.J. Swann), a 1,000-yard rusher in Keith Adams Jr. and five different receivers with double digits in receptions for the season.
“You can tell looking at them on film that they’re well coached,” Archer coach Andy Dyer said of Cherokee. “They definitely play hard for each other. Their offense is very good. Their quarterback throws the deep ball well. But we’re just excited to be playing at home and keep going.”
But it’s not just the Archer defense that will be challenged by Cherokee’s offensive production.
The Tigers own offense knows it cannot turn the ball over and give the Warriors more chances to strike, particularly on short fields.
That will be quite a task against a Cherokee defense that has racked up 12 takeaways over the last four games, but it’s one Dyer knows his Tigers must be up to.
“It’s a huge deal,” Dyer said. “In the playoffs, all possessions are precious. If you turn the ball over a lot of times, you put yourself in a very big hole. If you turn the ball over a lot, it means everything.”
Fortunately for the Tigers, they’ve done an extremely good job of playing keep away from opposing offenses most of 2019 by having committed just eight total turnovers in 11 games thus far.
And they will look to skill players like quarterback Carter Peevy, Trey Messer and his fellow receiver and a deep running back corps led by Ronald Spivey Jr., Jordon Swain and Schmari Campbell to remain as sure-handed as they’ve been all year.
Last meeting: First meeting between the two schools
Location: Archer High School