BY ISAAC THOMAS
For The Times
So far, Cherokee Bluff is right on track to defend its Region 7-3A football title.
However, North Hall still stands in its way and the two will face off Oct. 29 in Gainesville.
On Friday, the Bears (7-0, 3-0) reached the midway point of the region schedule with a dominating 55-8 win against Lumpkin County in Flowery Branch.
Once again, it was a stingy defense for Cherokee Bluff that led the way, holding the Indians (2-5, 1-2) to only three first-half first downs and one touchdown.
The Bears dominant defense also recorded three turnovers on the night, and have now held all three regional opponents to single digits.
Bears starting halfback Jayquan Smith had high praise for his defense.
“It feels really reassuring to have a defense that can go out and make a stop if we need it,” Smith said.
This senior class has been the foundation of current success for Cherokee Bluff, which rose to statewide relevance quickly.
The Bears are looking to make it further that the 10-2 season with a trip to the second round of state in 2020.
With the makeup of this group, that’s certainly possible.
Against Lumpkin County, Smith had another stellar showing. He rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
His biggest run was a 53 yard run up the gut for a score, speeding past the entire defense untouched.
Against Lumpkin County, the Bears took control early, punching the ball in six times offensively in the first half on only 19 total plays.
While Cherokee Bluff does have to go through North Hall, they also have to take care of business against Dawson County first.
“Our next game is against Dawson County.” Bears coach Tommy Jones said, “And our mindset is 100% on Dawson County.”
Up next, Cherokee Bluff hosts Dawson County for its final regular-season home game following a bye on Oct. 29.