Cyclones end Dillon dominance, return state title to Chester
Chester ended its long title drought and beat one of the state’s top programs to do it.
Pha’Leak Brown ran for three touchdowns as the Cyclones held on in the final minute to defeat Dillon, 34-28, to win the Class 3A championship at Williams-Brice Stadium.
It was the Cyclones’ first title since 1963. Dillon was going for its sixth title in the past seven years.
Dillon got to 34-20 and was driving to get closer, but Javonti Jackson picked off the Wildcats in the end zone with less than seven minutes left.
The Wildcats scored on their next possession on Jay Lester’s 9-yard pass to Ahmari Huggins-Bruce to make it 34-28.
Dillon got one last chance to win after Chester bobbled the snap on a punt deep in its own territory. The Wildcats got it to the 16, but Lester was sacked by Teddy Murphy to seal the win.
“We just had to come up with a stop; that was all I was thinking about,” said Chester coach Victor Floyd, whose first head coaching job was at C.A. Johnson. “Defense did a great job, giving us the ball in the second half. We didn’t do a lot with it, but we did enough to get by.”
Brown finished with 95 yards rushing. Dillon outgained Chester 319-231 but was hurt by turnovers.
Chester picked off Dillon three times, including a 96-yard interception return for a score by Terrence Mills in the first quarter to make it 13-0.
“We talked all week about not getting caught in the moment, getting off to a fast start and not watching the Jumbotron,” Floyd said.
Chester’s Pha’Leak Brown tackles down Dillon’s Justin Green during Friday’s Class 3A state championship game.