Photo: Coosa Christian’s Jake McDowell (right) pursues Cherokee’s Willie Padron during the Conquerors’ 49-0 loss in the first round of the Class 1A state football playoffs on Nov. 9. (Allison Carter/Florence Times-Daily)
By Jacob Cole/For Florence Times-Daily
Arian Strong’s five-touchdown performance propelled Cherokee to its first playoff win since 1999 as the Indians routed Coosa Christian, 49-0, on Nov. 9 in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.
The Indians (8-3) advance to the second round to play Lynn. The Conquerors finished the season at 4-7.
After forcing a three-and-out, Cherokee went 76 yards in 12 playoffs to score its first touchdown. Strong found Devon Haley on a slant for a 41-yard touchdown and the Indians led 7-0.
Cherokee added to its lead in the second quarter when Strong hit Javar Strong on a 27-yard touchdown strike to extend the lead to 14-0.
With 4:22 left before halftime, Arian Strong tossed another scoring pass to Javar Strong. The 35-yard touchdown gave the Indians a 21-0 halftime lead.
Cherokee only allowed 59 first half total yards.
Cherokee lost a fumble on the second-half kickoff, but the Indians defense thwarted the Conquerors to force a turnover on downs.
Arian Strong tossed a touchdown strike to Trey Lefan with 3:59 in the third quarter. As time expired in the third quarter Willy Padron broke multiple tackles to score a 30-yard touchdown putting Cherokee up 35-0.
Padron found the end zone again in the fourth quarter with a 61-yard punt return to add to Cherokee’s lead.
Strong completed his fifth touchdown throw of the night with a pass to Robert Fuqua from 27 yards out.
Strong completed 13 of 22 passes for 225 yards and five touchdowns.
For Coosa, Dartavious Britton rushed 14 times for 30 yards. Caiden Lipscomb was 6 for 25 in passing for 50 yards. Jackson Justus caught three passes for 11 yards.
Lipscomb finished with eight tackles, followed by Brody Sanders with seven and Jake McDowell with five. Ashton Clemmons had a sack.