The Cherokee Warriors have solidified themselves as the perennial power of Cherokee County with an 8-2 record against inter-county teams since 2018. They also received statewide recognition last year with wins against Carver, Rome, and of course, Cartersville. The Warriors biggest achilles heel has been late season region games. The Warriors have missed a top-two spot in the region by one game in each of the last three years. Because of this the Warriors have only one playoff win to go with the 20-10 record they have racked up since 2018.
Cherokee will enter the 2021 campaign with the core pieces still intact. AJ Swann is coming off of a 2500 yard season with 23 Touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He also picked up his 4th star and is now ranked as the 13th best Pro-Style Quarterback according to Rivals.com. Adarrius Harshaw has been the target of choice for Swann. He racked up 872 yards on 53 catches with 7 Touchdowns to boot. Harshaw has also received national recognition, now being a 3-star Wide Receiver according to 247sports.com and a 4-star receiver according to ESPN. Cherokee will also enjoy the addition of WR Aidan Moore from Sequoyah, who should add a solid option as a second receiver opposite of Harshaw. Ryan Chandley II and Ben Rice will be responsible for anchoring a Cherokee offensive line that lost Nason Simmons, Derrick Battle, and Steve Hardison.
On defense, The Warriors will have much more talent to replace. With the loss of Braesen Parker, Riley Lyons, and Austin Tremble, Cherokee will have to replace three first-team All County starters. The good news is that Toby Thompson, Tanner Dollyhigh, as well as Chase and Tyler Goddard, will be returning. The biggest question for the defense is who will be patrolling the secondary, especially in a region with QB talent like Devin Farrell and Robbie Roper to contend with.
So what should fans expect from the 2021 Warriors? It’s no secret Cherokee will once again be one of the best teams in Cherokee County, the question is what they can do outside of what they have already accomplished. Cherokee will face all of the same opponents from the 2020 season except for Carver, who will be replaced by Mays in the Corky Kell. Unfortunately for the Warriors, this season will require a much more difficult travel schedule, with road games against Rome, Cartersville, and Milton. The good news is that they will play the majority of their region schedule at Tommy Baker Field. The key for Cherokee will be to convert some of those early season successes to the latter half of the season.
We see Cherokee as an 8-2 team with a top two finish in the region. Milton still seems the easy favorite to win the region, with Roswell and Cherokee battling for second. We still see Cherokee winning in the Corky Kell and against Rome. However, the Cartersville game is close to a toss up. Since the Canes will have home-field advantage, we’ll give the theoretical edge to them.
The time for Cherokee to solidify themselves as a state power with a couple of playoff wins is now. They have all the talent they need, they just need to find their place in the playoffs and pull out a win.