Canes' state record streak ends at Cherokee with 14-12 loss

Devonte Ross had a 95-yard kickoff return for touchdown for Cartersville.

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes had their 62-game, regular-season winning streak come to an end Friday night with a 14-12 loss to the Cherokee Warriors in Canton.

In a game that saw very little offense in the first half, it was a lone, 21-yard field goal by Jesus Gutierrez that 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 of 11 passes for eight yards and had rushed for only 43 yards.

In the second half Cherokee took its opening possession 90 yards for a score. The drive was culminated with a 5-yard touchdown run by Keith Adams that gave the Warriors a 7-3 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 have a chance to get into Gutierrez’s into 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.

Facing a fourth-and-27, quarterback Stratton Tripp through up a prayer. It was answered by Amari Orr until his catch was fumbled 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 stood and Cartersville suffered its first regular-season loss since September of 2014.

Cartersville (4-1) has a bye week before starting Region 7-AAAAA play at Cass October 16.

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Cartersville, Georgia