Milton vs Cherokee: Region Championship Edition
November 19, 2020
Last Friday, news reports surfaced from Cedar Grove High School stating that Cedar Grove was using three ineligible players (per The AJC). As a result, Cedar Grove was forced to forfeit four games including their 14-7 win against Milton. So now Milton is technically undefeated. Much is at play on Friday night’s game at Cherokee High School including a region championship and a number one seed in the state playoffs. If Cherokee gets a win, it will mark their first region championship since 2002. If Milton gets the win they will get their third straight region championship, a historic 15-0 region record in the last three years and their first undefeated season since 1952. Last week Milton made the trip west to Woodstock High School where they easily beat the Wolverines 52-21. Milton showed their offensive strength in putting up a season-high of 52 points. Next week Milton will head north to face the Warriors of Cherokee (8-1). Cherokee is coming off of a bye week. In the last 16 years, Milton leads the series 6-1 (Cherokee’s last win against Milton came in 2004).
This year’s Cherokee football team seemed to come out of nowhere. Not many people had the Warriors at 8-1 and competing for a region championship but nevertheless, here they are. Cherokee’s sole loss came against a crushing defeat to Roswell. Cherokee’s best win came against Cartersville, a game nobody thought they would even compete in.
Junior Quarterback AJ Swann will get the start Friday night. In their last game, Swann completed ten passes for 147 yards and one touchdown. On the year, Swann has 18 touchdowns with five interceptions. Swann is a three-star prospect with offers from Kent State, Middle Tennessee, and UMass (per 247 Sports).
The star of Cherokee is Junior Running back Keith Adams Jr. Adams Jr.’s father is Keith Adams, who played at Clemson and seven years in the NFL. Last game Adams Jr. had 29 rushes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Adams Jr. is a three-star prospect with offers from Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee.
The Warriors leading receiver is Junior Adarrius Harshaw. Last game Harshaw recorded six catches for 108 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide receiver Brady Bocherer caught two passes for 23 yards in their win against Alpharetta.
On the defensive side of the ball, Cherokee has loads of talent. The Warriors have only given up 13 points per game which is amazing, to say the least when looking at the potent offenses they play.
The Warrior defense is led by Senior Linebacker Braesen Parker. Parker has already recorded 112 tackles on the season including an interception to go along with his stats as well. Last game Parker had 10 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one pass deflection.
Junior Defensive back Keegan Baker leads the Warriors in interceptions with three. Last Game Baker had one interception as well as three tackles.
Junior Defensive Lineman Toby Thompson has the most tackles on the defensive line all season with 80. Last game Thompson accounted for five tackles.
Last week Milton’s offense exploded for 52 points while only giving up 21. It seemed like every time Junior Running back Jordan McDonald touched the ball he was off to the races, McDonald had a career-high four touchdowns in the game. Milton looks to carry that same momentum into Canton this Friday night to take on the Warriors of Cherokee.
To no surprise, Junior Devin Farrell will get the start this week. Last week Farrell recorded 12 completions for 218 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Farrell also rushed on six attempts for 56 yards. Farrell also did a nice job of scrambling outside of the pocket and extending plays.
As previously mentioned, Junior Jordan McDonald had a career day with 13 carries, 204 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Bryce Thornton had three carries for 25 yards including a 57-yard touchdown reception.
Milton’s leading receiver last week was Junior Brooks Bortle with three receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Debron Gatling caught three balls for 45 yards. Senior Max St. Vrain had a career-high game with two receptions for 19 yards. Junior Tight End Jack Nickel had three catches for eleven yards and his first touchdown of the year.
After a first drive slip up, Milton’s defense quickly got the game under control. It seemed that every play Dan Comeau was running around the pocket, which helped slow Woodstock’s offense down. Milton will need to do the same to come out with a win vs Cherokee.
Per usual Sophomore Lebbeus Overton led the Eagles in total defense with seven tackles and one forced fumble. Senior Dayne Edwards had five total tackles. Seniors Connor Gay and Zack Tummunia combined for five tackles and three tackles for loss.
Junior Linebacker AJ Crawford had six tackles and one tackle for loss. Junior Linebacker Owen Pauley had five tackles and an interception. Junior Linebacker Dylan Miller had nine tackles and two tackles for loss. Senior Mason Bicknell had a career-high of five tackles.
Junior Cornerback Cam Canion had six tackles and two tackles for loss. Senior Cornerback Jeremy Ologake had five tackles and a tackle for loss. Sophomore Cornerback Bryce Thornton had two tackles. Senior Safety Garrett Smalley had six tackles. Junior Safety Zyere Horton had three tackles.
Keys to Victory: Cherokee
For Cherokee to win they will need to drive down the field on Milton’s defense nearly every drive and score as much as possible. A task much easier said than done, as this defense will be the toughest Cherokee will face all year. Cherokee will also have to at least slow Milton’s offense down. Cherokee will not win in a shootout if that is what this game will come down to so some stops on defense will be key. A couple of turnovers would also help the Warriors swing the momentum.
Keys to Victory: Milton
For Milton it seems simple, win in the trenches by stopping Adams Jr. and open big holes for McDonald to run through. Be able to contain Quarterback AJ Swann by not letting him get outside the pocket and extending the play. Get some early momentum going by igniting a big play or stealing a possession from Cherokee by means of a turnover and then scoring a touchdown. Score as much as possible and stay on the field for as long as possible to wear down the Cherokee defense.
Both teams come into this week’s contest very prepared. On the first possession Milton’s defense gets a stop forcing Cherokee to punt the ball back, Cherokee then does the dame. Early in the game, both teams trade touchdowns. Milton comes up with a turnover and then scores a touchdown. Cherokee follows up Milton’s score and scores a touchdown. Milton runs a successful two-minute offense and scores right before the half ends to take the upper hand. Milton comes out of the half and scores a field goal. Milton goes onto score again once more while Cherokee is only able to put up a pair of field goals. Milton walks out of Canton with a win and a region championship.
Offensive Player of the Game: Jordan McDonald
Defensive Player of the Game: Cam Canion