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   The best of the best in Alabama High   
  School Football over the past 100 seasons.





Amazing Seasons 


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          After coming up short last year in their quest for a state championship, the Cherokee County Warriors entered the 2009 season with a title as the team goal. They opened the season as the No. 2 ranked team in Class 4A and looked forward to the new season with high expectations.

           The Warriors returned most of the principle players, including 2008 Area Player of the Year and future Jacksonville State quarterback Coty Blanchard and several dangerous wide receivers.

         




  Piedmont 7   0   0   6   13  
  Cherokee County 7   14   14   7   42  

           Gabriel Chambers and D.J. Fife combined for four touchdowns as the Cherokee Warriors beat Piedmont 42-13 to start the 2009 season. Chambers opened the scoring for the Warriors with an 83-yard return of a kickoff after Piedmont scored midway through the first quarter.

          The No. 2 ranked Warriors jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead over the fifth-ranked team in Class 3A and added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Fife scored on a 57-yard run and returned to second half kickoff 78 yards for another score. He finished the night with 129 yards rushing on just seven carries.


  Cherokee County             36  
  Alexandria             25  

          Senior quarterback Coty Blanchard threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Warriors to a 36-25 win over Alexandria. Alexandria cut Cherokee County's lead to 29-25 in the fourth quarter, but Blanchard tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Fife to put the game away. D.J. Fife finished with 89 yards rushing and 58 receiving.


  Hokes Bluff 14   0   0   0   21  
  Cherokee County 21   21   7   0   49  

          Coty Blanchard completed 9-of-10 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns as Cherokee County rolled over Hokes Bluff 49-21 in week three. Fife rushed for 152 yards on just eight carries and three touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 87 yards and another score.

          The Warriors jumped out to a 14-0 lead but Hokes Bluff came right back and scored two quick touchdowns to tie the score at 14-14 after a couple of Warrior turnovers. The offense continued to rack up points as they scored on every possession until the reserves took over in the third quarter.



  Cherokee County 21   0   14   7   42 
  Oneonta 0   7   7   0   14  

          The No. 2 ranked Warriors had to wait out two weather delays before finally putting away Oneonta 42-14. Blanchard put on a show with a touchdown pass and three more scores running the football. Gabriel Chambers returned the opening kick for a 95-yard touchdown to help the Warriors get off to a 21-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.

          With about six minutes remaining in the third, the game was stopped due to bad weather with the Warriors leading 35-7. Play resumed after an hour delay and each team added a score before the game ended near midnight.



  Cherokee County 21   21         52  
  Cleburne County 0   0   7   7   14  

          The Cherokee County Warriors scored almost every way possible as they routed Cleburne County 52-14. The Warriors scored six times in the first half as they amassed 285 yards rushing, 200 in the first half alone. Blanchard passes for 86 yards and accounted for 112 yards rushing while only playing a half.

           Defensive back Kenny Akin returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown to give the Warriors a quick 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Cleburne County did not get on the scoreboard until near the end of the third stanza.


  Cherokee County             50  
  St. Clair County 0    7   0   0   7  

          The Warriors easily took care of St. Clair County 50-7 in week six to run their record to 6-0. Blanchard led Cherokee County with two rushing touchdowns and two more through the air, mostly in the first half as the Warriors led 31-7 by intermission. Isaac Jones hit two field goals for the Warriors, while Caleb Crane recovered a fumble, recorded a safety and rushed for a score.


  Jacksonville 0   6   0   6   12  
  Cherokee County 7   7   7   3   24  

          D.J. Fife scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as the Warriors opened up a 14-6 halftime lead and played error free football all evening as they rolled over Jacksonville 24-12. Coty Blanchard tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Gabriel Chambers and scored on a 52-yard run in the third to put the Warriors comfortably ahead 21-7.


  Cherokee County             45  
  Locust Fork             12  

          Cherokee County trounced Locust Fork 45-12 to improve to 8-0 on the season.


  Ashville 0   0   0   0   0  
  Cherokee County             61  

          The Warriors had little trouble with Ashville as they disposed of the Bulldogs by a score of 61-0 in week nine. The defense registered their first shutout of the season.


  Scottsboro 0   0   0   0   0  
  Cherokee County 13   7   7   7   34  

          The top-ranked Warriors capped off their second consecutive perfect 10-0 regular season with a regular season ending 34-0 win over the Scottsboro Wildcats. On the first play from scrimmage, Gabriel Chambers raced 67 yards on a short pass from Blanchard to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead. Blanchard's 15-yard touchdown run gave the Warriors a 13-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end.

          The defense held Scottsboro to just 106 yards of total offense, all on the ground. Blanchard completed 19-of-27 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 73 yards while playing almost flawlessly at quarterback. 


  Haleyville 7   0   6   0   13  
  Cherokee County 6   19   20   7   51  

          The Warriors scored three touchdowns in a five minute span of the third quarter to put the game away as they defeated Haleyville 51-13. Cherokee County led 25-6 at the half before Haleyville scored on a long drive to open the second half of play to cut the lead to 25-13.

          Coty Blanchard found Desmond Brown on a 51-yard scoring strike on the next play to give the Warriors a 31-13 lead. Following a three and out by Haleyville, Blanchard dashed 60 yards up the middle on the first play for a 37-13 lead. On Haleyville's next possession, Brett Burgess returned an interception 19 yards for a score and a 37-13 lead. For all practical purposes the game was over at that point. Brown caught three passes, all for touchdowns.


  Fayette County 6   0   0   6   14  
  Cherokee County 14   21   7   7   49  

          Hudson Grimes opened the scoring for the Warriors when he returned an interception 45 yard for a touchdown and a 7-0 early lead. Fayette County came back to cut it to 7-6 but Cherokee County scored 28 unanswered points to take a 35-6 lead into intermission. D.J. Fife scored on runs of 8 and 38 yards to stake the Warriors to the big lead over Fayette County.

           The second half was just more of the first as the Warriors defense scored again on another interception return, this one by Timothy Walker for 36 yards. Brett Burgess returned an onside kick 55 yards for another score following Fayette County's only touchdown of the second half. In the end, Cherokee County advanced to the quarter-finals with a convincing 49-14 win over Fayette County.


  Cherokee County             56  
  North Jackson             32  

          Cherokee County piled up 632 yards of total offense as the rolled past North Jackson 56-32 in the third round of the playoffs. The Warriors scored the first four times they touched the football as Coty Blanchard threw three touchdown passes and ran for two others. Chambers caught two touchdowns and Fife ran for two more. Chambers first score came on a 74-yard pass play from Blanchard.

           In the end, Cherokee County was just too fast for the Chiefs and able to score almost at will. The win sent the Warriors to the semi-finals of the playoffs.


  Deshler 7   3   7   20  
  Cherokee County 13   7   11   6   37  

        Quarterback Coty Blanchard had a career night with nearly 400 yards of offense and five touchdowns. He tossed three scoring passes and ran for two more as the Warriors ran over Deshler 37-20 to advance to the Super Six championship game. Blanchard completed 18-of-30 passes for 267 yards and rushed for 106 on 11 carries to lead the offense.

          Chambers caught seven of those passes for 144 yards and two scores. After Deshler cut the lead to 31-20 early in the fourth quarter, Blanchard raced 62 yards to lockup the victory for the Warriors.


  Jackson 7   6   6   8   27  
  Cherokee County 0   14   10   8   31  

          Coty Blanchard scored the game winning touchdown with just 26 seconds to go in the game as the Warriors defeated Jackson 31-27 for the Class 4A state championship in Tuscaloosa. He might not have gotten the chance without a great play on a fourth and one by the Cherokee County defense at the Warriors 44-yard line a few minutes earlier.

          The Jackson Aggies led 27-24 with three minutes remaining and face a fourth down and one. Instead of punting, coach Jeff Kelly decided to try and pick up the first down and run out the clock from the Cherokee County 44 yard line. The ball carrier was met immediately and the Warriors took over with a chance to win. Blanchard calmly led them down the field for the game winning score.

           Blanchard was named MVP after finishing 14-of-23 for 187 yards and one touchdown, and running 20 times for 100 yards and two scores. The quarterback led the Warriors to their first ever state championship with the win over Jackson in Tuscaloosa.



          Cherokee County quarterback Coty Blanchard was named the 28th recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association Mr. Football Award following the season at the ASWA's annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon. Blanchard, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, completed 200-of-289 passes for 2,916 yards and 35 touchdowns. All were school records.

           He also rushed for 1,161 yards on 151 carries with 20 touchdowns. For his career, Blanchard set the Warriors' school passing record with 6,948 yards and 75 touchdowns, while rushing for 2,381 yards and 38 touchdowns.

          Linebacker Caleb Crane, Coty Blanchard and Gabriel Chambers were named to the first team all-state squad by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Head coach Tripp Curry was selected as the coach of the year.

           The 2009 Cherokee County Warrior set team record for most wins in a season with a perfect 15-0 record and points scored in a season with 659. The 2009 championship was also the first of any kind for the school.
         




Cherokee County
2009

8/28 42 Piedmont . . . . . . . . . . 13
9/4 36 Alexandria . . . . . . . . 25
9/11 49 Hokes Bluff . . . . . . . 21
9/18 42 Oneonta . . . . . . . . . . . 14
9/25 52 Cleburne County . . . . 14
10/2 50 St. Clair County . . . 7
10/9 24 Jacksonville . . . . . . 12
10/16 45 Locust Fork . . . . . . . 12
10/23 61 Ashville . . . . . . . . . . 0
10/29 34 Scottsboro . . . . . . . . 0
11/6 51 Haleyville * . . . . . . 13
11/13 49 Fayette County * . . . 14
11/20 56 North Jackson * . . . . 32
11/27 37 Deshler * . . . . . . . . . 20
12/4 31 Jackson # . . . . . . . . . 27

659 15-0 224

* Playoff game
# State championship game



2009 Cherokee County Warriors
No. Player Yr. Ht. Wt. Pos.
1 Denzel Johnson Jr. 6-1 185 DB
2 Caleb Hays Sr. 5-7 140 DB
3 Darren Fife Sr. 6-0 140 RB
4 Gabriel Chambers Sr. 5-10 160 WR
5 John West Sr. 6-3 170 WR
6 Tyler Evans Fr. 5-9 125 DB
7 John Nichols So. 5-10 145 WR
8 Colin Perry Sr. 6-0 160 WR
10 Brett Burgess Jr. 5-10 155 DB
11 Coty Blacnchard Sr. 6-1 170 QB
12 Tanner Young Fr. 6-1 170 QB
14 Owen Gilbert So. 5-4 130 REC
16 Caleb Crane Sr. 6-2 227 LB
20 Tae Rooks Fr. 5-9 155 RB
21 Justin Dotton Fr. 5-9 155 DL
22 Dalton Colbert So. 5-6 140 WR
23 Kenny Akin Jr. 5-10 170 DB
26 Logan Lecroy Fr. 5-9 140 DB
28 Joshua Woods Fr. 5-9 175 RB
32 Michael Burleson So. 5-4 140 DB
33 Nathan Sterling Sr. 6-1 200 LB
41 Dexter McAllister Fr. 5-9 155 LB
42 Patrick Lowe So. 6-0 165 LB
44 Matt Hill Jr. 6-1 235 DL
45 Joshua Higgins Fr. 5-10 160 LB
46 Desmond Brown Sr. 6-1 185 RB
48 Logan Pierce Fr. 6-2 165 WR
54 Dylan Porter So. 5-10 145 LB
55 Zavier Wood Sr. 6-2 235 OL
56 Ty Stroud Jr. 6-0 185 OL
57 Matt Carter Jr. 5-10 185 OL
60 Dillon Dodd So. 5-11 185 DL
61 Issac Jones Jr. 6-1 175 K
63 Caleb Whorton Sr. 6-0 195 OL
64 Daniel Miller Sr. 5-11 235 DL
65 Dakota Hill Sr. 6-1 300 OL
66 Jessie Ballew Sr. 6-0 190 DL
68 Zachary Bedwell Fr. 5-9 150 OL
70 Alex Galbreath So. 5-11 185 DL
72 Adam Hundley Sr. 5-9 155 DL
74 Kaleb Clark Fr. 5-11 160 LB
76 Zephaniah Fife Jr. 6-2 195 DL
81 Damon Bishop So. 5-8 120 DB
84 Lucas Whitmire Fr. 5-8 130 DB
85 Jacob Whitmire Fr. 5-8 130 DB
94 Hudson Grimes Jr. 6-2 225 DL



Amazing Seasons, a series on the greatest seasons in high school football history


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