CHESTER -- Chester Cyclones coach Victor Floyd knew not to push the panic button after seeing Lewisville erupt with a surprising 14-0 lead in the first quarter of Friday night's regular-season opener at the Chester Cyclone Stadium.
"We were too pumped up; the guys were talking about this game for so long," Floyd observed. "We just had guys out there who were trying too hard."
Once Floyd settled down his players, the big-play Cyclone offense went to work, scoring 30 unanswered points for the 30-14 victory.
Cyclone quarterback Eugene McCaskill, a University of Kentucky recruit at wide receiver, made numerous big plays. The Chester senior ran 16 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns out of the spread formation. His 78-yard run in the third quarter broke a 14-14 deadlock, while a late 5-yard scamper put the finishing touches on the Cyclones' victory.
"It was a pre-snap read," McCaskill said about the dazzling 78-yard run down the left sideline. "There was no safety in the middle; the safety came on the blitz, and I saw no one there."
When McCaskill wasn't burning the Lions' defense on the ground, the Cyclones resorted to getting the ball to the other Cyclone weapons, namely freshman running back Julius Pendergrass.
In his first varsity contest, Pendergrass gained 61 yards on 14 carries, including four carries for 23 yards and a 3-yard scoring run, cutting Lewisville's lead to 14-6 with 2:56 remaining in the opening period. Terrell Springs, who played sparingly on offense, made the most of his lone carry by burning the Lions with a 30-yard touchdown run with 4:15 remaining before the half.
With the score tied at 14 in the third quarter, the Cyclones' offense exploded quickly on its second possession. McCaskill took the snap from the shotgun, immediately saw the gaping hole in the middle of the Lions' defense and displayed sizzling speed with the 78-yard scoring run.
The Cyclones' special teams blocked a punt early in the fourth quarter with the ball sailing out of the end zone for a safety and a 22-14 lead. Another blocked punt, which was recovered at the Lions' 15, set up the Cyclones for the clinching drive which ended with McCaskill dashing 5 yards into the end zone.
Lewisville, who churned up 256 rushing yards, dominated early behind the running of tailbacks Dennis Dunham and Elijah Johnson.