The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes (4-1) saw their regular-season winning streak come to an end Friday night with a 14-12 loss to the Cherokee Warriors.
In a game that saw very little offense in the first half, it was a lone, 21-yard field goal by Jesus Gutierrez was the difference in the score. Those three points were put on the board with just under eight minutes left in the first half.
Cartersville had just 83 yards passing in the first half and 61 yards rushing. It was even worse for Cherokee, which completed 2-11 passes for eight yards and had rushed for 43 yards.
In the second half Cherokee would take its opening possession 90 yards for a score off a 5-yard touchdown run by Keith Adams. It was the first touchdown of the game and the first Cherokee lead. Following a Cartersville possession that did not yield any points, the Canes defense stood tall and sacked Warrior quarterback AJ Swann in the end zone to cut into the Cherokee lead 7-5. That score would hold until about two minutes remained in the fourth quarter.
Cherokee scored on a 31-yard touchdown run by Adams to give the Warriors a 14-5 lead, which, at the time, seemed insurmountable. On the ensuing kickoff, Devonte Ross returned the ball 95 yards to once again give Cartersville a chance with just 1:50 left in the game. Instead of an onside kick, Cartersville kicked into Cherokee territory with three timeouts in its back pocket. The goal: force a three-and-out and give our offense a chance to get into Gutierrez’s field goal range.
The defense did one better.
Not only did it force a three and out, but the snap was fumbled and the Cartersville offense was back on the field at the Warrior 35-yard line. Everything seemed to be coming up purple. And then it wasn’t.
The Cartersville offensive line committed holding penalties and before you knew the Canes were facing a 4th and 27. Quarterback Stratton Tripp through up a prayer. It was answered by Amari Orr. Everything was coming up purple at the moment until it wasn’t. The ball was fumbled by Orr and recovered by Cherokee. The call came under scrutiny, as it was not clear if Orr was down or the ball was out first. In the end, the original call held and Cartersville suffered its first regular-season loss since September of 2014.
Cartersville will start region play next week when it travels to its county rival Cass. You can hear the game on WBHF with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 and kickoff set for 7:30.