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franklin county times

Tharptown falls to Cherokee

Tharptown gave a good push Friday, but it wasn’t even to score on the Cherokee Indians, who shut out the Wildcats 54-0.
Tharptown gave a good push Friday, but it wasn’t even to score on the Cherokee Indians, who shut out the Wildcats 54-0.

By Brannon King for the FCT


Cherokee used a strong rushing attack to defeat Tharptown Friday night.

The Indians (2-2, 1-1) were led by the outstanding play of Davontia Johnson to claim the 54-0 win. Johnson scored on each of his first four carries, racking up 228 yards on touchdown rushes alone. He ended the game with 244 yards on the ground (all but 16 coming in the first half), five touchdowns (one receiving) and a long punt return that led to another score.

“He’s hard to stop. He’s a good one,” Tharptown head coach Jason Murray said about Johnson after the game. “When he gets out in open space, he’s hard to handle,” Murray added.

Tharptown (0-3, 0-1) struggled all night to get things going. The team played hard and showed glimpses of promise, but mistakes hurt the young Wildcat team.

“We’ve got a bunch of young guys who are still learning how to play the game and how to go about playing their position,” Murray said.  “It’s a work in progress. I really do think we are improving, especially on the effort side of things. We obviously still have a long way to go.”

Johnson gave a hint of things to come when he took a handoff and raced 54 yards for a TD on the first offensive play for the Indians after a Tharptown punt.

The Wildcats then put together a nice drive until a fumble turned the ball over to Cherokee at the Indians’ 36-yard line. Two plays later, Johnson was off to the races again, covering 66 yards on a TD run with 2:48 left in the first quarter. Arian Strong’s pass to George Green on the two-point try was good, and Cherokee had the 14-0 lead.

Tharptown got things going in the right direction on their next drive with help from runs by Heath Hatton and Mikey Rosson. Hatton also completed a couple of nice passes to Carlos Perez, but the second led to a fumble after the catch, and the 11-play drive came to an end.

Johnson made the Wildcats pay by making moves and weaving his way through the defense for a 32-yard TD run. After a quick three-and-out by the Tharptown offense, Cherokee was at it again, this time taking a punt all the way down to the 8-yard line to set up another touchdown.

Cherokee finished the first half scoring on a 40-yard run to give the Indians a commanding 33-0 lead at the half.

Braden Key of Tharptown made a big play early in the second half by recovering a Cherokee fumble, but a few plays later, the Wildcats fumbled the ball right back to the Indians. On the next play, Key did it again by recovering a fumble after a Cherokee pass completion.

It looked as though Tharptown was going to convert the turnover into points, but a penalty brought back what would have been a 33-yard Hatton to Matthew Hall TD pass.

Cherokee finished off the win with a TD run by Arian Strong, a 40-yard TD pass from Strong to Johnson and a scoop and score by William Maxwell on a Tharptown backwards pass.

The Wildcats will take the field next at home in a game against Sulligent.