Choctaw Central took out several years’ worth of frustrations Friday night in the annual “Battle of the Nations.”

The Warriors played with an inspired effort and beat visiting Cherokee, N.C. 47-12.

With the win, the Warriors moved to 1-1 on the year. It was a win that head coach Pepper Posey and the Warriors were able to enjoy.

“It helped out our feelings a lot,” Posey said. “The fans, the players, the school, the tribe, everyone associated with this school; that win meant a lot to them. There has not been a lot of good going on here with football but everybody needed that win. I was really pleased with the boys and how hard they played. It was a good win for all of us. My assistants did a really good job of preparing the kids. We have played a lot of kids and got a lot of people on the field. I can’t give those guys enough credit.”

After swapping punt to open the game, the Warriors got the scoreboard first as Gerald Isom scored on a four-yard run to cap off a six-play, 35-yard drive. Graviel Velasco booted the PAT and Choctaw led 7-0.

The Warriors went up 14-0 as they got a short field after recovering a fumble at the Cherokee 37. Five plays later, Brydon Wesley scored on a 2-yard run. Velasco booted the PAT and Choctaw led 14-0.

“I thought we did a lot better job of blocking up front,” Posey said. “We’ve still got to get better up there considering our schedule. But the offensive line played much better than they did last week. They gave Gerald some time to throw the football and we were able to complete some passes.”

Cherokee responded with a nine-play, 80-yard drive and scored on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 14-6.

The Warriors answered right back with a six-play, 48-yard drive as Isom scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper. Velasco booted the PAT and Choctaw led 21-7 with 3:29 left in the first half.

The Warriors got the ball right back with an interception and Isom hit Kashden Bell on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 2:06 left in the first half. The PAT failed and Choctaw led 27-7 at the half.

“There are some things that we have to do better,” Posey said. “We have to be able to stop the run in between the tackles. We have to develop some intestinal fortitude there. You can’t let people run at you between the tackles. We have to be better there. And we have to make plays when we get the chance. When we have a chance to go up and intercept the ball, we have to make those plays. Players have to go make plays.”

The Warriors put away any doubt on their first drive of the second half as they went 71 yards in 13 plays. Isom scored on a six-yard quarterback keeper. The PAT failed and Choctaw Central led 33-7.

The Warriors got right back in the end zone when Traiton Martin intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown. Velasco booted the PAT and Choctaw Central led 40-7.

After Cherokee added a score on a long touchdown pass, Choctaw Central got one last score as quarterback Eli Joe scored on a 28-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good by Velasco for the final margin. 

This week’s game

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Warriors as they will host Nanih Waiya on Friday, the defending Class 1A state champions.

Nanih Waiya is 0-2 on the season after losing 16-0 to West Lauderdale and 35-24 to Union last week.

“They are pretty big,” Posey said. “They have the big running backs and are pretty big on the offensive line. They lost some guys up front but they are still pretty good. Don’t let their record fool you. They lost to a good West Lauderdale team and a really good Union team. We will have our work cut out for us. I’m interested to see how we respond after an emotional game against Cherokee. We will have to play mistake-free football and be a lot better than we were last week.”