High School Football:
Saturday, October 30, 1999
By Greg Alvord
On a beautiful fall day here at Cherokee High School, the Tartans of Highland and the Chiefs of Cherokee battled on the gridiron. In the end, it was Highland gaining a 17-10 victory. The win moved the Tartans record to 4-3. With the loss, Cherokee fell to 3-4 and watched whatever playoff hopes they had go down the tubes.
The first half was a defensive battle for both clubs. Each team tried to pass and run to no avail against each other's tough defenses. The first half ended with a 23-yard field goal by Cherokee's Pat Davitt. The Chiefs drove down the field only to be once again denied by the fierce Highland defense forcing them to settle for the field goal.
The defensive dominance continued throughout the third quarter. Each team tried in vain to get something going against the other team's fired up defense. When the forth quarter began, that's when the scoring began. As Cherokee was lined up in punt formation, Highland's Brent Tyson stormed in from the right side to block the punt out of bounds at mid-field. With a boost of momentum finally on their side, Highland put themselves together for the day's first sustained drive. The main man for the Tartans would prove to be Ayo Saba. Saba rumbled like a runaway train for 9-yards on first down. On the next play, Saba cleared a path in bulldozing style for Tyson who scampered 28-yards for another big Tartan first down. So with a first down at the Chiefs 14-yard line, it was Saba again. Bursting up the middle in cannon-ball style, Saba broke through tacklers to give the Tartans a 7-3 lead.
The Tartan team carried their momentum over to the defense. They held Cherokee to a three and out and on forth down, the Chiefs lined up to punt. The snap to the up back resulted in a fake that fell just shy of a first down. The suddenly scoring Tartans put up a 30-yard field goal by Sean Pollard. The scoring drive was started by a huge fumble recovery by the Tartans' Rafael Sandoval after a crushing hit by Donald Henly. After holding Cherokee once again, the Tartans pushed their lead to 17-3. A dazzling run by Tyson from 44-yards out was the big play of the game. On that play, Tyson superbly kept his balance using his hand to support his body from falling. Another Bronco-Nagurski-like block by Saba cleared the final 15-yards for Tyson who glided into the endzone.
With time ticking away, the Chiefs would respond to cut the lead to 17-10. Cherokee's quarterback Harry Morad hit the fleet Mike Scanzano in stride for a 60-yard scoring pass. The Chiefs would then hold Highland to get one last opportunity to tie the game. The Chiefs were held on the first 3 downs. Once again they were hoping for another opportunity on forth down. Morad dropped back to try to do his best Doug-Flutie type magic, but a ferocious charge by the Tartans front four caused a huge sack to end Cherokee's hopes. This was a huge victory for this Highland program.
Photos by Forrest Robleto
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