The start of the regular season saw a draw between Cherokee and Kell. After both teams got a scrimmage under their belts (a 2-1 victory for Cherokee over East Paulding and a 2-1 loss to Woodstock for Kell) the squads were eager to begin their campaigns to the state playoffs. This was the first meeting between the two schools since 2015 which ended in a 3-0 victory for Cherokee, despite being separated by less than 15 miles. Last season saw the Longhorns go 12-4 but miss out on the playoffs due to a 4-4 conference record. Despite the Warriors finishing 4-10-2 in 2017, optimism abounds due to the return of 13 players from last years squad.
A chippy game began with a bang as less than 3 minutes after the whistle Cherokee was awarded a penalty kick due to a clear foul in the box on Junior Forward Isai Gonzalez. Senior Cris Ramos stepped up and placed his shot in the bottom right corner, sending the keeper the opposite direction, to give Cherokee a 1-0 lead in the 3rd minute. Despite it being a fast-paced contest, neither side saw too many chances at goal. Kell only mustered up 2 shots the entire first half against a stingy Cherokee defense. In a game that was played for the majority in the midfield, the sides went into the half with the Warriors up 1-0.
That scoreline would remain until a quick counter attack by Kell in the 58th minute. Capitalizing off a Cherokee turnover, the Longhorns moved the ball with pace down the field, finishing a hard shot to beat keeper David Trinidad near post. The majority of chances on the night were created by Cherokee. Coming in off the bench Junior Marco Rodriguez was able to create numerous chances on beautiful deliveries off of throw-ins. However neither team would finish the rest of the night and the score would remain deadlocked to begin the year.
The draw sends both squads to 0-0-1 on the season. The match was just one of three scheduled this week for the Warriors as they are also set to host region rivals River Ridge and Sequoyah (0-1) Wednesday and Friday night. With rain in the forecast however the decision on whether or not these games will be played is in the air.