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Football: Wilson named OC – Former Chico athletic director lands at Paradise

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Former Chico athletic director and head football coach Lane Wilson has accepted the offensive coordinator position at Paradise.

Lane Wilson

Wilson had been with the Dragons since 2010, serving as the head coach from 2014-2017. In those seven years, Chico won 34 games. In the seven seasons prior to his arrival, the Dragons won just eight games.

Chico made the playoffs each of the past two seasons, snapping a 15-year postseason drought.

“First of all, I feel very fortunate he was even available,” said Paradise athletic director and head coach Joe Koch. “I think he’s an outstanding coach. The people I talked to had the highest respect for him. He’s very well-experienced. He knows the area very well. He has a great understanding of the game. It was a steal for us.”

Wilson is one of several new coaches to join the Panthers following the retirement of former athletic director Ronnie Gage in May. He inherits an offense that averaged 21.5 points per game last season.

Paradise has not made the playoffs since 2008 and finished 3-7 overall last year. The Panthers return several starters and a large junior class.

Quarterback Jace Essig will enter his third season as Paradise’s starter. He was a second-team selection from District 8-3A in 2017, throwing for 581 yards and five touchdowns. Essig also ran for 259 yards and five scores.

Junior 6-6, 245-pound tight end Mitchell Sellers will also return for his junior campaign. He was a first-team selection from 8-3A, catching 15 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jacob Robinson rounded out the first-team selections, leading the Panthers in rushing with 917 yards and eight scores.

“I see a lot of potential,” Wilson said. “I think the kids are hungry. They’ve been starting since they were freshman. They’re ready to step it up and go to the next level. I think things in Paradise – their fortunes are about to change.”

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