Aaron Krier powered Storm Lake early on in the annual rivalry for the Battle Ax trophy, and scored four times on the night.
The Tornadoes moved efficiently on their first drive, with Krier powering off tackle for a four yard TD two minutes into the contest. The Jorge Sanchez kick was good for a 7-0 lead.
Chase Lange recovered a fumble moments later, and SL again attempted to convert a fourth down, this time getting stopped in their tracks. The quarter ended 14-0, with Krier already at nearly 100 yards of offense on three 30-yard-plus plays.
The second quarter dawned with both teams struggling to move. Cherokee mounted a promising drive, but an Ethan Kinkel sack stalled the Braves.
After a Storm Lake punt, Jay Grant recovered a Cherokee fumble at the Cherokee 42, and the Tornadoes made them pay with a 44-yard Seaman bomb right down the gut to Luke Lenhart, one of his five catches in the first half. The kick was blocked to leave it 20-0 with six minutes left in the half.
Storm Lake took over again with 20 seconds left in the half, on their own 47. Seaman hit a racing Lenhart at the 18 for what appeared to be a sure TD, but the it was ruled the receiver had stepped out of bounds at the 18. Seaman then launched one to the left corner of the end zone, where junior Cole Feltner pulled in his first varsity catch for a score. The kick made it 27-0 at the half.
Storm Lake went exclusively to the ground game in the third quarter, adding to the lead early on as Krier followed his quarterback's aggressive block for a 10-yard scoring scamper. Another Sanchez kick made it 34-0. Lenhart later sprinted back with a punt return for an apparent TD that was called back on a penalty.
In the fourth, Storm Lake started to mix in reserves, and Cherokee running back Luke Zeiman plowed up the middle to cap a 12-play, 53-yard drive.
Krier answered with a 41-yard ramble, diving the final five yards into the end zone for his fourth score, kicking in the continuous clock with the score 41-6.
Moments later, Cherokee struck with a 38 yard bomb to Eric Wilkie against SL's second-string defense, followed by a 20 yard Zeiman TD run. Zeiman ran in the conversion to make it 41-16 with five minutes left, but the Braves could draw no closer.
Tornado mentor Craig Lyon felt his team came out strong, and said he was pleased with the hard play from his defense to match up to Cherokee's veteran front line, holding their opponent to four first downs in the first half. However, he felt the Tornadoes wore down slightly later in the warm conditions. "We're not in perfect game shape yet," he said. They will continue to learn what to call when and where, as this year's schedule includes tough challenges virtually every week the remainder of the way.
Seaman was 9-19 for 140 yards, with three touchdowns in the air and no interceptions. Mitch Martin came on in relief and was 1-1 as SLHS rolled up 379 yards of offense. SL had five penalties, and each team had two turnovers.
Krier, carrying more muscle this year, was impressive with his four scoring plays, and Lenhart had 108 yards in receiving to lead the team. Seaman made few mistakes. "That's what you expect out of your seniors. I'm glad they got off to a good start," Lyon said.
The venerable Battle Ax trophy made the ride back to Storm Lake, bound for its familiar spot in the trophy case.
Next Friday, Storm Lake's home opener hosts Spirit Lake, a playoff team from a year ago.