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Cherokee dominates Dewar to earn first championship game berth

By Robert Przybylo, Staff Writer, bprzybylo@opubco.com Modified: November 28, 2010 at 12:16 am •  Published: November 27, 2010

— Three years ago the Cherokee football program was 0-10. Next Saturday night, the Chiefs will be playing for their first championship.

Sparked by a stifling defense and an efficient running game, Cherokee was dominant in winning 46-12 in a Class B semifinal against top-ranked Dewar on Saturday afternoon at Kalsu Stadium.

“This is a great feeling,” senior quarterback Justin Schanbacher said. “This community has been behind us the entire way. Now we have to finish the job.”

Schanbacher is one of 10 seniors that still remember that winless 2007 season. Those days are long gone after this season.

Cherokee hadn't made the playoffs since 1999, but a Week 2 win against then-No. 1-ranked Laverne showed this team was going to be a force. Cherokee gets a chance to finish the job next Saturday at Stillwater High against Wetumka in the Class B final.

Dewar struck early to take a 6-0 lead, but Cherokee never flinched.

“We've been in this position before, so we weren't too worried about it,” Schanbacher said. “We had a good game plan, and we stuck to it.”

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