Cherokee County’s impressive AHSAA football playoff run lands the Warriors in the championship game for the first time since 2009 & More Trending News


It’s occurred many instances this season at Cherokee County High. Star operating again Jacob Cornejo, who may also be described as a star linebacker, carries the ball a number of instances in succession and head coach Jacob Kelley pulls him out to take a break.

Admittedly, that happens all through football. What usually occurs subsequent, although, is just not totally frequent.

“You look, and he’s standing right beside you, not even breathing hard,” Kelley stated. “You’re like, Jacob, are you good, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, coach, why’d you take me out?”

It additionally occurs on the different aspect of the football.

“We had one series where I think he toted it 12 times,” Kelley stated. “He scores, comes off the field, we kick it off, and the defensive coordinator said, ‘Is Jacob ready to roll?’ and he’s standing right beside him.”

Truthfully, it is a good factor to have the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior on the area always. He’s main the workforce in dashing with 2,498 yards and 32 touchdowns. And he is main the workforce in tackles with 127. He does each with little fanfare.

“He’s the most unselfish player I think I’ve ever had,” Kelley stated. “If you have a conversation with him, you’re going to say that kid don’t talk a lot. And he don’t. He’s all business.”

Business is nice for Cornejo and his Cherokee County teammates. The Warriors (12-2) face off in opposition to Andalusia (13-1) on Friday morning with the Class 4A title on the line. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Cherokee County superior to the championship game for the first time since beating Jackson, 31-27, in 2009. That 2009 workforce featured Mr. Football Coty Blanchard at quarterback. The Warriors additionally superior to the title game and misplaced in 1984, 2005 and 2008. When Kelley arrived in the spring of 2019, the program wasn’t championship game-ready.

“My first year, we were Region 6, same region as Oneonta,” Kelley stated. “They beat us so bad I think the coach was taking a knee in the third quarter. Coach [Phil] Phillips he’s a great coach. I have a lot of respect for him. He didn’t run it up. He could have scored 100. When I first got here, we weren’t very good when we got put into a fistfight, but we still won some games.”

Last week, the Warriors superior to the championship game by outslugging a bodily Oneonta workforce, 42-21, in the semifinals.

Kelley directed his workforce into the playoffs for the third consecutive season, shedding in the first spherical in 2020 and the second spherical final season. The Warriors performed in the south bracket each of these seasons. This yr, the Warriors are in the north bracket, which results in a little bit of the unknown.

“First three rounds were teams that we’ve never played in the history of the school,” Kelley stated.

For the teaching employees, that meant trying forward and getting ready for what turned out to be wins over Corner, West Morgan and Randolph. For the gamers, although, Kelley took a unique strategy.

“These kids have no ability to think ahead,” Kelley stated. “A long-term goal in a modern teenager is as absent as money in my bank account. It just ain’t there. We dissect it to a daily thing. We do things on a daily basis to be successful.”

They’ve completed that. The Warriors gained 4 playoff video games by a mixed 166-80, and no margin has been fewer than 14 factors. Now, they arrive to the finish of a particular season. For Kelley, although, it is the finish of a particular 4 years.

“When I first got here, these seniors were 8th graders,” Kelley stated. “They were the first ones that I had a meeting with when I first got here. I went over to the middle school and met with those guys. It’s super cool, super gratifying. I can’t really talk about it because I get emotional. I couldn’t talk about it after the game. They’re just a special bunch. They’re so much fun to coach. We have a great time. Throughout the year, when it got to the point of us winning a regional championship, I told them, ‘Y’all are my first class, and I want to send y’all out region champions.’ That was really, really cool, but we got on a roll in the playoffs and have been playing better and better. And here we are, game 15, we have a chance to write our own story, that will live on forever.”

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Cherokee County’s impressive AHSAA football playoff run lands the Warriors in the championship game for the first time since 2009

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Cherokee County’s impressive AHSAA football playoff run lands the Warriors in the championship game for the first time since 2009

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