The Chico Dragons broke an eight-year long spell on an unusually warm Friday night in November.
For the first time in that many years Chico captured a district win, with a 40-14 thrashing at the home of the Blue Ridge Tigers.
The win moves Chico to 5-4 on the season. If they can come away with a win at home on Nov. 9 against a reeling 1-7 Trenton team, the Dragons will finish with their first winning season in a dozen years.
“I’m proud of the way our seniors played and the leadership they provided,” said Chico head coach Stephen Carter. “I challenged the seniors to step up and they responded. They set the bar higher for our underclassmen … Dylan Hightower led the way for us.”
Hightower was a highlight machine. Less than one minute into the first quarter he struck quick with a 61-yard dash into the end zone. He was just getting started. Even though Blue Ridge would tie the game at seven each several minutes later, the game was over before half-time.
Late in the first Hightower scored again on a 54-yard streak. Then again, with 8:41 left in the second quarter, Hightower blasted down the field on a 26-yard touchdown run.
Less than two minutes later Chico quarterback Hunter York hit Jericoe McGuier on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
And before the Tigers could limp into the locker room at halftime, York found an open Hightower on a 36-yard touchdown pass, leaving the score 33-7.
Overall, Hightower accumulated a whopping 374 total yards and five total touchdowns. He produced 181 yards and four touchdowns on only 10 carries. He had a staggering 18.1 yards per carry. He added an additional 193 yards on five receptions.
York also provided a very efficient game at the quarterback position. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
And the Dragon defense de-clawed the Tigers. The run defense held Blue Ridge to a mere 2.7 yards per carry. The pass defense wreaked havoc with Williams only completing 38 percent of his passes and 118 yards. They also made an interception.
“Jerry Williams and Tyler Byers were two guys on defense that stood out for us,” Carter said. “They all played well.”
That solid play made history Friday night and broke a dismal drought in district play. If they can keep up the momentum, they can break another curse next week.
Stats provided by Lindee Hand.
CHICO 40, BLUE RIDGE 14
Chico … 14 … 19 … 0 … 7 … 40 …
Blue Ridge … 7 … 0 … 0 … 7 … 14 …
Chico – 11:12; Dylan Hightower 61-yard run, Dalton Tullos kick
Blue Ridge – 4:45; Brady Williams 48-yard pass to Hunter Wiggens, Luis Rivelas kick
Chico – 2:40; Hightower 54-yard run, Tullos kick
Chico – 8:41; Hightower 36-yard run, kick failed
Chico – 6:04; Hunter York 22-yard pass to Jericoe McGuier, Tullos kick
Chico – 3:43; York 36-yard pass to Hightower, kick failed
Chico – 3:43; Hightower 1-yard run, Tullos kick
Blue Ridge – 0:09; Williams 4-yard pass to Ryan Rule, Rivelas kick
CHICO … BLUE RIDGE
First downs … 13 … 11
Rushes – yards … 23-205 … 20-54
Passing yards … 258 … 118
Total yards … 463 … 172
Comp – Att – Int … 12-17-0 … 8-21-1
Punts … 3-32 … 4-38
Fumbles – lost … 2-1 … 4-1
Penalties – yards … 11-65 … 1-5
Rushing – Chico, Hightower 10-181-3 TDs; Blue Ridge, Ryan Rule 6-43
Receiving – Chico, Hightower 5-193-1 TD; Blue Ridge, Dakota Bell 4-51
Passing – Chico, York 12-17-258-3 TDs; Blue Ridge, Williams 8-21-118-2