• Top: Olney High School senior running back Bradley Garcia reaches the end zone on a 20-yard run, which gave the Cubs a 14-13 lead with 1:11 left in regulation. Chico won 20-14.

Late touchdown spoils Olney victory

CHICO—  A late fourth-quarter kick return for a touchdown may have led to a 20-14 loss for Olney High School, but the Cubs remain confident as they head into senior night.

The Cubs’ sideline erupted as senior running back Bradley Garcia crossed the goal line on a 20-yard run, giving Olney a 14-13 lead with 1:11 left in regulation, but that lead lasted a few seconds as Chico sophomore running back answered with a 75-yard return for a touchdown that gave the Dragons a 20-14 victory.

“That was probably our best defensive game all year,” Olney coach Mark Young said. “We just had some breaks that didn’t take place. I told them ‘Love each other and bounce back. I know what I’ll be doing in an hour and that is work on Alvord.’”

With the loss, the Cubs drop to 0-9 and remain winless in their district following their Oct. 7 loss to Windthorst. All of that seems overshadowed by their 14-point second half comeback that fell short last Friday night.

The Cubs found themselves in an early hole following a first-quarter, 42-yard run by Chico junior running back Curtis Keener, but that was the Dragons only significant gain on the ground. The Cubs held Chico to just 16 additional rushing yards for the rest of regulation, In response, the Dragons then turned to the air, taking a 13-0 lead on a 70-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Devon Wilson to junior receiver Colton Forbus. 

Facing a two-score deficit, Olney junior quarterback John Montgomery picked up most of his 150 yards rushing on an 81-yard touchdown after cutting up the middle of the field on a quarterback draw. The Dragons and Cubs exchanged possessions until a pivotal third-and-long situation, which forced Chico to punt from inside their own 10-yard line. 

“We were just playing as a team,” senior defensive/offensive tackle Carson Little said. “When we do all of our assignments, read our keys and do what we’re taught to do, we’re good. That’s what made our defensive game so successful.”

A few plays later, the Cubs took their only lead of the night on Garcia’s 20-yard run, sending Olney’s sideline into a frenzy.

“I just kept blocking my guy, then I looked over and saw him make a touchdown,” Little said. “We locked in and played to the whistle. It all worked out because we worked as a team. We had taken the lead and it finally showed that when we work together, it all pays off ... We talk about how Alvord and Chico are so similar. There were some bad things that we did, but a lot of good things that progressed us.”

What’s next

The Cubs will next face the 2-5 Alvord Bulldogs, who are also looking for their first district win after also coming up a touchdown short during last week’s 27-20 loss to Seymour.

Although the Bulldogs run a similar offense as Chico, their 6-2 defense will be a change for the Cubs.

“It’s basically the same thing (offensively),” Young said. “They get into the gun, one-back, two-back, trips and deuces. It’s the same thing we’ve seen the last five weeks ... Defensively, they run a split six look. They will have four linebackers walked away and three down linemen looking to come and get you. They try to do a lot of schemes and try to keep you off balance. It’s something a little different this week.”

One point of emphasis for the Cubs is blocking Alvord’s  5-foot-11-inch, 265-pound senior defensive tackle Blake Martin .

“He’s a load. If we don’t block him, then he is going to make a lot of problems for us in the backfield,” Young said. “Their quarterback and running backs are pretty consistent on all four levels. Some play receiver and there is not a lot of difference between them. They are some bigger guys so we’re going to have to hit them low and get them to the ground.”

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