SUWANEE — Lambert hoped to carry momentum from its win over Collins Hill last week, but instead it took a little too long to get going.
The Longhorns dug out of a hole with 26 unanswered points to take a 36-35 lead in the fourth quarter Friday night, but eventually fell 50-36 to Cherokee on homecoming at The Horn.
However, unlike last week where the Longhorns faced a familiar opponent—a team it fell to last year in the state playoffs – Lambert (1-2) and Cherokee (2-2) faced off for the first time.
“It’s hard to prepare for a team you have never faced against,” said Daniels. “They are a team we need to study a lot of film on to prepare our guys.”
Trailing 35-10 with just 6 minutes left in the game, Lambert scored four touchdowns in a row to take a 36-35 lead with just a minute left in regulation. Noah Beck helped the cause, returning a fumble 55 yards to make the score 35-30 with 8:12 left. Then Lambert took the lead with 1:10 left on the clock when Marcus Chatelain scored from 4 yards.
But the Longhorns left too much time on the clock.
Cherokee scored on a 55-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Aaron Knowles to retake the lead at 43-36. Then Jake Klebar sealed the deal for the Warriors, intercepting Richie Kenney and running 55 yards to the end zone.
Following the game Coach Daniel told his team: “I couldn’t be prouder. You guys could’ve laid down, but you didn’t.”
“I’m at a loss for words,” Lambert wide receiver Tyler Gillis said. “I’m heartbroken at the outcome, but couldn’t more proud at the fact we came back after being down so many points.”
Gillis scored the first two touchdowns of the comeback effort on touchdown receptions of 22 and 4 yards.
Cherokee was nearly unstoppable with 510 total yards as senior quarterback Nolan Donley finished 21 of 30 with 416 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception. Senior wide receiver Montrell Washington had 12 catches for 202 yards and a single touchdown. Sophomore running back Garrett Miles made his footprint with 15 carries at 109 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Lambert’s offense wasn’t far behind. Kenney went 21 for 34 with 341 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Gillis had eight catches for 188 yards. Gillis was also on the receiving end of all three of Kenney’s touchdown passes.
“We have a special connection,” Gillis said. “I can trust him to put the ball on my numbers, and he expects me to catch it.”
Lambert falls to 1-2 on the season and will have to go on the road and face a familiar foe in the Lanier Longhorns, who defeated them 17-7 last season.