Famous Amos: Diminutive back scores five touchdowns to lead ninth-ranked Warriors past No. 10 Etowah, 45-42

Cherokee County High School’s Jack Amos breaks into the open field on a run against Etowah on Friday night. Photo by Billy Garrett.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

CENTRE – Cherokee County High School senior back Jack Amos is one of the smallest players on the Warrior football roster, but on Friday night against Class 4A, Region 6 opponent Etowah, he was a giant.

The diminutive 5-foot-5, 145-pound Amos ran for 193 yards on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns. He also had two interceptions on defense, including one he returned for a score, in the ninth-ranked Warriors’ 45-42 victory.

The win clinched a playoff spot for the Warriors (7-1, 4-1) and now puts them in the driver’s seat for the region championship.

“I like being the smallest kid on the field. Everybody’s always like ‘There that little No. 1 goes,’” Amos said. “It hurts sometimes when you get hit, but you’ve just got to get right back up.

“The O-linemen and Jacob Cornejo, when you’ve got those cats in front of you hitting a body, it breaks everything open for you. I had holes wide open because my blockers were hitting. They were going after it all night long. They helped me out a lot.”

Cherokee County head coach Jacob Kelley said he doesn’t know if he’s ever coached a grittier kid in his career.

“Jack is an emotional-driven player. It means a ton to him,” Kelley said. “You talk about size this and size that, he took the game into his hands. You’re just in amazement of the things he did tonight. He’s such a pleasure to coach. We’re so close. He’s like my own kid. I ride him really, really hard, but I love the heck out of that kid. He was super-big for us tonight. Hat’s off to the guys in front of him clearing the way, but man, he was fantastic tonight.”

Amos killed Etowah’s first drive of the night with an interception in the end zone of elusive quarterback Trace Thompson. Later in the first quarter, Amos picked Thompson off again, this time he ran it back for a 58-yard touchdown to put the Warriors in front 7-0.

“As soon as I got that first pick, I was like ‘It’s game time. It’s time to go and it’s time to roll,’” Amos said.

Etowah (6-2, 5-1) tied the game at 7 early in the second quarter on Thompson’s 8-yard touchdown toss to Andrew Pierce. The Warriors countered with an 11-play, 64-yard drive in which Cornejo scored on a 2-yard run. Will Frampton’s PAT put Cherokee County back out in front 14-7, but that lead quickly evaporated in just two plays. Thompson found Omareon Finch for a 58-yard touchdown. Alejandro Corona’s extra point tied the game again at 14 with 5:41 remaining in the first half.

The Blue Devils went out in front of the first time following a Warrior punt. Thompson threw his third touchdown of the half, with this one going to Brady Carver for 38 yards. Following the extra point, Etowah held a 21-14 advantage with just under three minutes to go in the first half.

That was enough time for the Warriors to tie the score however. Behind the heavy set which the Warriors ran most of the game that alternated between Cornejo and Amos, the latter scored on a 7-yard run with 29.5 seconds to go, sending both teams to the locker rooms tied at 21.

“Jack, that little dude is crazy good,” Cornejo said. “It’s me, then it’s him. Block, run, break it, touchdown. I’m just glad to have him on my team. Our offensive line was getting it done. We just kept our heads down and on straight. We just overpowered them and took home the ‘W’.”

Etowah took the opening possession of the second half and drove 74 yards in eight plays, capped off by Thompson’s fourth touchdown throw of the night. This one went for eight yards to Finch for his second score of the game. The point after provided Etowah a 28-21 advantage.

But once again, Cherokee County answered with Amos. He scored on an 11-yard run to tie the game again at 28 with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter.

The Warrior defense got a stop on Etowah’s ensuing possession, and the offense didn’t let it go to waste. Amos dashed in for his third rushing touchdown – this one from 20 yards – and it gave the Warriors a 35-28 lead at the end of three quarters.

Three plays into the fourth quarter, Etowah knotted the score at 35 on Briggs Freeman’s 15-yard touchdown run, but the Warriors answered again on their following drive as Amos dashed 53 yards for another touchdown. Frampton’s extra point put Cherokee County up 42-35.

Thompson rallied the Blue Devils again on a 4-play, 80-yard drive in which he connected with Jameson Scissum on a 47-yard touchdown strike. The score was tied at 42 with 7:33 remaining in the game.

The Warriors appeared as if they may go back up another touchdown as they marched down to the Blue Devil 1-yard line, but a bad snap to Cornejo on third down resulted in a 10-yard loss. Kelley opted to send in Frampton for a 28-yard field goal with 1:51 remaining in the game. The senior kicker calmly connected on the attempt, putting the Warriors back out in front 45-42.

“Obviously we would’ve loved to have punched it in right there, but we felt like even with a failed kick we’d still have to stop them, so why not take the chance?” Kelley said. “We work it every single day. We’ve got the guys who can do it. I trust Will. He’s done a great job in preparing for the situation. His number was called tonight and he stepped up big for his team. I’m proud as heck of him as well.”

Frampton said the kick was “a blur” to him.

“I just looked at the ball and kicked the ball,” he said. “I never thought I’d actually be put in a situation like that. It’s surreal. It was nothing out of the ordinary. We do PAT and go field goal and special teams all week. This week it went really well.

“Last week I didn’t have a great game (against Fultondale), so I’m glad I got to come back this week and show what I could do.”

The Warriors needed one last stop to secure the win, and the defense came through. The unit prevented Thompson and the rest of the Blue Devil offense from reaching midfield. Thompson’s pass on fourth-down from the Etowah 41-yard line fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs with 9.4 seconds to go.

A Cade Hopper kneel down secured the win, and a shot at a region title against Ashville next week.

“We control our own destiny,” Kelley said. “Being senior night next week and the things we’ve talked about with this group being my first group that I’ve had all the way, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem getting them up. I’m looking forward to it next week. Ashville is a great team coming in, so we’ve got to finish.”

Cornejo added 127 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown for the Warriors. Hopper completed 4-of-6 pass attempts for 69 yards.

Thompson hit on 20-of-35 pass attempts for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Finch was his top receiver with eight catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Cherokee County High School running back Jacob Cornejo breaks an Etowah tackle on a run Friday night. Photo by Billy Garrett.
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