Three years ago, the Wilcox Chargers shocked the Valley Christian Warriors in Week 1. The upset victory in a tight defensive battle (Wilcox won 10-6) helped propel the Chargers to an eventual CIF State Championship winning season.
Flash forward to 2021, and while this year’s opening week matchup was a much different style and different result (Valley Christian winning 54-33), the takeaways are similar. Both teams made mistakes, but both teams once again proved that they are very, very good. Each defense forced multiple fumbles, each offense saw their big stars shine, and both special teams units returned kickoffs for touchdowns.
At the end of the night, the biggest difference in the game was Valley Christian’s junior wide receiver Jurrion Dickey. Listed at 6’2” 210 pounds, Dickey has the size, speed, and moves in the open field that make him almost impossible to stop. He might just be the most impressive high school football player. Dickey finished the game with 11 catches for 190 yards, three receiving touchdowns and a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And amazingly, with all that said, the Chargers did do a good job defending him at times throughout the game. Both Elijah Walker and Luther Glenn were tasked with trying to slow him down.
“He is a great player, he has height on me and he’s very athletic,” acknowledged Walker. “I just had to try to ball with him. It was more of a mental thing too, try to throw him off by talking a little, being physical with him.”
Not only were Walker and Glenn tasked with handling the Warriors’ superstar receiver, but they were also the Chargers’ most noteworthy playmakers with the ball in their hands. Glenn opened the scoring by breaking off a 65-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. He finished with 140 yards on 20 carries, three touchdowns on the ground and one through the air on a 4th-and-17 play from the 22-yard line. Walker meanwhile was a force on special teams all night long, breaking off multiple nice returns before ripping off an 85-yarder for a touchdown in the third quarter.
While Wilcox would certainly like to clean up the fumbles on offense and a number of penalties that cost them, they never gave up in this one. Even after the Warriors took a 41-19 lead, Wilcox bounced back to pull within 41-33. Huge forced fumbles by Zenas Doan and Daniel Escorza helped Wilcox make it a game again in the third quarter before the Warriors pulled away late.
Despite the loss, Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa was pleased with his team’s effort against a very strong opponent.
“I was proud of them and I told them that after the game. That’s a good sign that we’re not gonna quit. Five unanswered touchdowns and a lot of teams might pack it in for the night, but we got it back down to one score with a whole quarter left.”
Wilcox will look to get into the win column next week when they play at San Benito on Friday, Sept. 3.