ROGERSVILLE —- On the night Cherokee’s Big Red Valley got named for long-time Chiefs Head Coach Mike Sivert, Volunteer were the party crashers.

Fielding one of its best teams in recent memory, the Falcons came into Mike Sivert Field and dominated from start to finish to beat Hawkins County rival Cherokee 48-3.

The win marked only the third time since the rivalry began with the opening of both schools in 1980 that Volunteer (5-4) has won back-to-back football games against Cherokee. The previous time the Falcons won consecutive games were 2006 and 2007.

After Cherokee went three and out on the opening drive, it didn’t take the Falcons long to dent the scoreboard. Falcons’ quarterback Garrison Barrett found receiver Cason Christian on back-to-back receptions of 39 and 21 yards. The three-play drive was capped by Dawson Dykes’ first of three touchdowns in the contest, a 3-yard run with 9:07 left in the opening quarter. Dykes would also score on both Volunteer touchdowns of the second half, on runs of 11 and 1 yards.

Cherokee took the ball after the first VHS touchdown downfield. Thanks to the running of quarterback Braden Collins and running back Landon Jackson, Cherokee got its only points of the night on a Nick Sumpter 26-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.

After that field goal, Cherokee was on radio silence as Volunteer penetrated the Cherokee offensive line, making it practically impossible to move the ball. The Falcons put the game away in the second quarter, scoring 20 unanswered points, on a 1-yard run by Barrett, a 27-yard Barrett pass to Cason Christian and a Jared Counts 1-yard run for a 34-3 lead.

Volunteer Head Coach Jesse McMillan was pleased with his team’s effort.

“We felt like we had some match-ups on the perimeter early on, getting the big ball to Heath (Miller),” McMillan said. “When we gave Garrison time, he did a great job. They got after us with some blitz and stuff.” McMillan thought his players handled the rivalry aspect well.

“Anytime you play a rivalry game, you’re worried about the emotions and everything,” he said. “I thought our guys did a great job of handling that. We played really focused. We never took our foot off the gas. That’s a testament to them. From where the seniors were the year before they got here from where we’re getting to right now, that’s pretty impressive. I’m very happy for those guys.”

McMillan sympathized with his county rivals after Cherokee had to reinvent itself.

“When Cherokee lost (Micah) Jones earlier in the year, that changed up what they were able to do,” McMillan said. “We were really about Collins because he ran the ball really well the last couple of weeks and I felt like our defensive coordinators did a great job of getting our guys prepared this week. “Cherokee had one good drive on us there. We got lost a couple of times. We got that fixed and we did a great job after that,” he said.

McMillan was about trying to get his team healthy for its last regular-season game next week at Sullivan East. “Even with what happened last week with Elizabethton, I feel like we really battled, but we really got beat up last week. This week we were just trying to get our guys healthy. I’m proud of our guys not getting stupid penalties in this game. Our guys did a great job at that. They just played well, they really did. They played hard, competed and never stopped. That was the big thing we preached all week, that you have to play every down,” he said. “We did a pretty good job up front for the most part.”

Cherokee Coach Josh Hensley saw his team fall to 2-6 with the loss.

“I certainly hate the outcome. I thought that we were more prepared. We knew they were going to be tough to handle offensively. I thought we were going to be able to move the football a little better than we did. We made some some mistakes and they made some adjustments on us there. We weren’t able to grind through that and win the line of scrimmage like we wanted to,” Hensley said. This was the last home game for 21 Cherokee seniors who have played for three different head coaches in their career.

“They are a good group. They’ll always be special to me and near and dear to my heart. I hate the way the season has turned out and the way their senior night turned out. We have to find a way to keep grinding out for next week,. This one is going to hurt,” Hensley said. Hensley is grateful for the impact of Sivert on Cherokee football over the years.

“Mike Sivert is a legend in this area,” Hensley said. “I’m certainly very happy and thankful for the internship he has given to me. I feel like naming this field after him was the right thing to do.He’s done so much for this community, has left a lasting legacy and hopefully, he was honored in the right way, tonight.”

The Chiefs have one last shot at a playoff bid next Friday night, traveling up Volunteer Parkway to face Tennessee High in the Stone Castle.

Final Statistics

VHS CHS First Downs 16 6 Rushing Yards 152 50 Passing Yards 256 93 Total Offense 408 143 Comp-Att-Int 12-16-1 9-19-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0 Penalties-Yards 3-15 6-50 Punts-Avg 1-35-0 5-33

Volunteer 14 20 7 7—48

Cherokee 3 0 0 0 — 3

First Quarter

VHS —— (9:07) Dawson Dykes 3 run (Dykes kick) CHS —— (4:38) Nick Sumpter 26 FG VHS —— (2:06) Heath Miller 47 pass from Garrison Barrett (Dykes kick) Second Quarter VHS —- (10:45) Barrett 1 run (Dykes kick) VHS —- (9:31) Cason Christian 27 pass from Barrett (kick failed) VHS —- (:32) Jared Counts 1 run (Dykes kick) Third Quarter VHS —- (10:05) Dykes 11 run (Dykes kick) Fourth Quarter VHS —- (7:39) Dykes 1 run (Dykes kick)

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