Only Cherokee County was successful as they topped the Valley Cubs 29-23 in the 4A, Region 5 opener for both teams.
Warriors’ head coach Tripp Curry was happy to see his team rebound after a 57-13 loss to Piedmont in its season-opener.
“It’s easy to give up,” he said. “Our guys didn’t. We went back to playing base football.”
The Warriors (1-1, 1-0) jumped out to a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter on three touchdowns from senior running back Ty Green, who finished with a team-high 79 yards rushing.
The Valley Cubs (0-2, 0-1), which opened with a 14-7 loss to Etowah, answered on their next possession. Two plays after a 60-yard run by Austin Wells, junior running back Alton Davis got in the end zone on a 2-yard run. The extra point was missed.
Alexandria’s defense forced a three-and-out, and Cherokee County had a bad snap on its punt attempt. Alexandria took over on the Warriors’ 35 and scored four plays later, on Jacob Heathcock’s 13-yard run, to cut Cherokee County’s lead to 20-13.
A Tyrelle Gay return to the Warriors’ 25 set up an Alexandria field goal just before halftime, and Alexandria pulled within 20-16.
Alexandria received the second-half kickoff and looked unstoppable. Davis, Alexandria’s leading rusher with 123 yards, capped off a five-play, 76-yard drive with a 26-yard TD run to give the Valley Cubs a 23-20 lead.
Cherokee County tied it on a field goal midway through the third quarter, and the Warriors’ defense took over the game. After an Alexandria punt, they marched 48 yards to Tanner Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown run.
The extra point was blocked, but Cherokee County led 29-23.
Alexandria’s final possession came with 1:25 left and 70 yards to go. Penalties for pass interference, offsides and a late hit helped the Valley Cubs reach the Warriors’ 35. After sophomore quarterback Luke Tucker completed a 9-yard pass to Heathcock, Alexandria, out of timeouts, was forced to spike the ball. The Valley cubs threw up one last prayer with only seconds remaining, but it fell incomplete.