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Braves halt Warriors’ streak

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By Eric Rowell

CHERAW – The Cheraw Braves halted Indian Land’s unbeaten streak with a 28-20 win over IL on Friday night.

Cheraw built an early lead and kept the upper hand to notch the eight-point victory over the sixth-ranked Warriors.

Marvin Lauderdale’s 15-yard touchdown run, his second on the night, gave the Braves a 28-14 lead with 3:12 left in the third period. James Davis added the conversion for a 14-point CHS edge.

Lauderdale, in a strong night, ran for 131 yards 18 carries.

Indian Land, 6-1, 1-1, rallied to close the gap on IL quarterback Rondreas Truesdale’s six-yard run with 9:06 to play, but the Warriors couldn’t get closer in dropping their first loss on the season.

“Turnovers killed us,” IL coach Mike Mayer said. “One turnover stopped a scoring drive for us and another led to a Cheraw touchdown.

“We didn’t execute on both sides of the football,” he said. “You have to give Cheraw credit. They didn’t have any turnovers and they played mistake-free football.”

The Braves, 4-3, 2-0, set the tone for the game, building a 14-0 lead on the sluggish Warriors, who were hit by the tragic death of former IL wrestling coach Mike Kersey.

Lauderdale put the Braves up, 7-0, as he tallied on a six-yard run with 7:57 to play in the first period.

Cheraw extended its lead to 14-0, with quarterback Malcolm Hunter capping a 48-yard drive on a 14-yard dash with 3:31 left before the break.

Indian Land answered in a big way as Truesdale, who ran for 214 yards in 23 carries, dashed 62 yards to close the gap, 14-6 with 3:17 to play in the first half.

The Warriors, with the second-half kickoff, had a chance to draw closer with an impressive drive into Cheraw territory, but a key fumble at the CHS 36 led to the Braves’ third touchdown.

Cheraw, striking in a hurry, turned the turnover into points and drove 64-yards in two plays. Hunter hit Justin Chapman on a 60-yard touchdown pass to give the Braves a 21-6 lead on Davis’ extra point with 10:21 left in the third period.

The Warriors, facing a comeback, fought back and cut into the Braves’ lead.

Truesdale sprinted 67 yards to finish off a three-play drive to make it, 21-14 after Truesdale hit D.J. Moore on the two-point conversion with 9:18 to play in the third quarter.

“We played hard while playing from behind,” Mayer said.

Lauderdale answered for the Braves with his 15-yard scoring run to end a 79-yard drive in 12 plays to give CHS its 14-point edge, 28-14.

The Warriors came back with Truesdale scoring on his six-yard run, but the Braves held on for the eight-point victory.

“This has been a tough week with the passing of coach Kersey and we also practiced all week without our defensive coordinator David Sweem, who had surgery,” Mayer said. “Cheraw’s a tough foe and that just made it that much tougher for us.”

Kersey, a 10-year wrestling coach at IL, died Tuesday following an ATV accident at his home the previous Saturday.

Prior to kickoff, Cheraw held a moment of silence in Kersey’s memory.

The funeral for Kersey was Saturday afternoon in Lancaster where he wrestled and later coached the LHS mat squad before moving to lead the Warriors.

Indian Land will look to get back on track Friday night when they travel to Pageland to face the Eagles, 5-2, 2-0.

 Central High, rated No. 7 in Class AA state football poll, rolled to a 35-14 home win over Lee Central of Bishopville.