The Chiefs entered the game averaging 35.4 points per game and allowing 9.6, and they didn't disappoint their fans.
Sophomore Zaire Williams scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 22 yards in the second and third periods, respectively. Defensive lineman Nicholas Foster blocked two punts in the fourth quarter, leading to a touchdown for a 27-7 lead and then a safety, before Shawnee's second team scored in the final minute.
The Renegades' offense was hindered by the loss of senior running back Ed Royds, who entered the game with 705 yards and eight touchdowns. Royds was hit hard by Cherokee's Mike Zeuli, an Inquirer second-team All-South Jersey linebacker-strong safety, on his second carry of the game and did not return.
"That's football," Shawnee coach Tim Gushue said. "Losing Eddie on the second play of the game to an AC sprain [of the shoulder]. You could say that affected the game but. . . . Can we replace Ed Royds now? Probably not.
"When 44 [Dillon Lucas] goes down, that's two Division I athletes."
Dillon, a linebacker, is Shawnee's all-time leader in tackles with 342. He was injured in the final quarter.
Chiefs senior quarterback Andy Martin said he was sorry to hear about the loss of two stellar athletes. He added that he was happy that his team, which had a 13-7 lead at intermission, was able to capitalize in the second half.
Cherokee took a 13-7 lead with 1 minute, 46 seconds left in the second period on a picture-perfect, 40-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Drake Rodgers, who returned as a starter after being injured in the first game of the season.
The Chiefs tied the game, 7-7, on a 1-yard plunge by Zaire Williams 5:34 into the second quarter. The sophomore capped an 11-play, 59-yard drive, which culminated with his carrying the ball four times for 12 hard yards inside the red zone.
Shawnee had taken a 7-0 lead on a picturesque, 40-yard run by senior quarterback Vince Corbi, who found a gaping hole on the left side of the line and sprinted to the end zone.
Austin O'Brien kicked the extra point.
Shawnee 7 0 0 8 – 15
Cherokee 0 13 7 9 – 29
S: Corbi 40 run (O'Brien kick)
C: Williams 1 run (Coyle kick)
C: Rodgers 40 pass from Martin (kick failed)
C: Williams 22 run (Coyle kick)
C: Bonilla 34 run (Coyle kick)
S: Munger 1 run (Munger run)
Contact staff writer Bill Iezzi