DEL CITY â€” 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.
â€œThis is a great feeling,â€ senior quarterback Justin Schanbacher said. â€œThis community has been behind us the entire way. Now we have to finish the job.â€
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.
â€œWe've been in this position before, so we weren't too worried about it,â€ Schanbacher said. â€œWe had a good game plan, and we stuck to it.â€