AURORA | The scene was set for a dramatic Homecoming victory for the Cherokee Trail football team Friday night in front of a packed house at Legacy Stadium.
Trailing Arapahoe by three points after yielding a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter, the Cougars had the ball in Warriors’ territory twice inside the final three minutes with its crowd waiting to explode in celebration.
Both drives ended in failed fourth down conversions — the last with just over 10 seconds remaining — and Arapahoe escaped with a 10-7 victory in the Metro East opener for both teams.
Coach Joe Johnson’s Cherokee Trail dropped to 4-2 overall.
The Cougars got into the end zone in the opening quarter on one of their first offensive drives, but found the remainder of the game tough against a defense for Arapahoe (5-1, 1-0) that held a team to single digits in points for the third time this season.
The Warriors pulled within 7-3 in the third quarter and then came up with the go-ahead score on a lengthy drive to open the final period.
Arapahoe put together what turned out to be the winning drive with a march that took up nearly half the quarter. On third-and-goal from the 6 yard-line, Warriors’ quarterback Jaden Schmeling connected with an open Peter Fleming crossing the field, but he was pulled down by Cherokee Trail senior Matty Bartels to set up a fourth down.
Coming out of a time out, Schmeling was flushed to his right, but avoided the pressure and found an open receiver, who brought it in for the go-ahead touchdown.
Cherokee Trail fed the ball to senior speedster Torrey Sanders on a variety of screens and short passing routes and managed to get into Arapahoe territory with its final two possessions, but both ended with incomplete passes from sophomore quarterback Jack Love.
The Cougars turn around now play rival and undefeated Grandview at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Legacy Stadium.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
ARAPAHOE 10, CHEROKEE TRAIL 7
Score by quarters:
Arapahoe 0 0 3 7 — 10
Cher. Trail 7 0 0 0 — 7