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High School Football:
Eastern Outlasts Cherokee In Double Overtime

Friday, November 21, 2003

By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent

There are some who would rather watch a college football game because of the excitement generated by an offense's ability to put a ton of points on the scoreboard. The National Football League can be a bit too slow at times where Saturday afternoon you could find fans glued to the television watching their favorite collegiate team. Friday night at Cherokee High School in front of a packed stadium, the Chiefs and the Vikings from Eastern put on one of the most exciting football games ever played in this area. With the game tied twice with just less than four minutes remaining in regulation, it took two overtime periods to decide this South Jersey Group IV semifinals matchup. Eastern’s Anthony Orio not only scored the winning touchdown in their 50-43 decision, he also came up with the game winning interception to seal the Vikings victory.

The Vikings jumped out to an early first quarter advantage when Jahree Chesseman scored his first of two touchdowns giving Eastern a 10-7 lead. Quarterback Anthony Orio expanded that lead to 16-7 on a keeper with 10:04 showing on the second quarter clock. Orio’s counterpart Kevin Broomell, tossing three first half touchdown passes, completed his second touchdown pass to Chris Vettese and then his third right before the half to Justin Smith.

After a scoreless third quarter, the scoring picked right up with Cherokee regaining their first quarter lead on a Marc Orosz 2-yard touchdown run. With the successful two-point pass completion, Cherokee lead 29-23. Eastern would respond with another Orio keeper to tie the game and then go ahead on Dan McShane’s 20-yard fumble recovery touchdown run. Broomell had one more big pass completion to Smith with 36.8 seconds remaining and send this game into overtime.

During the first overtime session, both teams capitalized on their 25-yard line starting position. Orosz scored his second touchdown of the game for Cherokee and Chesseman also crossed the goal line in overtime for his second rushing touchdown of the game. Eastern would get the first opportunity to score in the second overtime session and did so on Orio third rushing touchdown of the day. Cherokee’s scoring attempt ended quickly when Orio stepped in front of a Broomell pass attempt to end the game.

The ever-exciting overtime is a thing of beauty that the NFL should adopt that would add some spice to the league. When these two teams scored a total of 86 points going into the deciding overtime session, it would seem that this game would go one forever. Finally when the defense had a very tough time, one play alone would end this exhausting battle between two teams who didn’t want their playoff season to end. Cherokee will play one more Thanksgiving game against Winslow Township. Ironically, Eastern will play Washington Township twice…next week for their Thanksgiving game and then again for the group championship game. The coaches will have a ball playing mind games next week and not giving away their game plan.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

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