High School Football:
Saturday, October 9, 1999
By Greg Alvord
These are dark days indeed for the Cherokee faithful. Not since the dark ages when the Rheumatic fever ran amuck, or the crash of Wall Street, or somebody grabbing that last burger off of the grill, have things looked so bleak for the Cherokee Chiefs. On the other hand, the newly ranked and well-deserved Eastern Vikings put on a dazzling display of football to showcase their success. Eastern dominated the Chiefs, here in Evesham, by notching their forth victory of the year with a powerful 49-7 victory.
Not since the infamous 46-16 1981 playoff drubbing at the hands of Mainland has Cherokee been so disparaged on their own turf. Starting fullback on that '81 Cherokee team Mike Gagliardi observed, "Watching this powerful Eastern team today, made me flashback to that awful day in '81. The beating was identical. I get chili-willies just thinking about it."
Eastern came out with fire in their eyes. Determined to get off to a fast start and maintain it throughout the ball game, Eastern jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. Quarterback Darryl Scott kept the option and raced 19-yards for the first score. On the next series, Adam Taliaferro plunged in from 3-yards out, behind the dominating blocking of the Washington Redskin hoglike-superbowl hay day offensive line. The Vikings team was now starting to hit stride. In tight games versus Triton and Pemberton, the Vikings seemed to go into a lull once they had the lead. Against Cherokee however, the Vikings decided not to give the Chiefs a chance to get back into the ball game.
Eastern's Tim Regan picked off a Cherokee pass on the next series, the first of three interceptions by the ball-hawking Vikings defense. On the very next play, Scott hit Taliaferro for a 26-yard touchdown. Taliaferro leaped between two Chief defenders, showing his receiving ability that have many stating he maybe on of the best set of hand in South Jersey. Another Chief interception by Bill Morgan, who showed some nifty, moves racing forty yards to the Cherokee ten, led to a touchdown run by Ed Carter. Once again, linemen Justin Barton, Chris Kupchick, Gregg Wrenn, Mike Davidowich and Nick Mourlos cleared running space in bulldozer style. On Cherokee's next possession, Omar Miles did his best Deon Sanders impersonation and picked off the Chief pass to glide in from twelve yards out for the score. The Vikings defense shut down the Cherokee offense in every phase of the game. Cherokee managed only 18-yards in the first half against this tough group of Vikings defenders.
The second half saw the Eastern team still clicking and a Cherokee team stunned by the Vikings display. A 45-yard dazzling touchdown run by Taliaferro summed up the afternoon. Taliaferro took the option pitch deep in his own backfield and zigzagged, sped away, bulled his way past the racing Chief defenders on a play that he and his teammates were not to be denied. A San Francisco 49er Steve Young to Jerry Rice like 95-yard catch and run play to Scott to Khary. Sharpe ended the high scoring Eastern attack. Cherokee scored with under a minute left to avoid the shutout. On this day, Eastern showcased why they are worthy of a number one ranked club.
Photos by John Hibbs
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