The Chester Cyclones’ rushing offense roared through Powdersville to end the Patriots quest of a perfect season Friday night by a score of 35-18 in the 3rd round of the Class 3A playoffs.
“That was a team that was a team of destiny until the magic wore out,” said Powdersville head coach Robert Mustar. Mustar won Coach of the Year at the Anderson TD Club Friday morning.
“I love these kids so much,” he added. “They do everything you ask, they’re coachable, they’re talented, if you got that, then it’s a recipe for success … What they did tonight is they played just like they always do with class. What they did was they lay the foundation for championship-caliber teams to come. They showed them it could be done. I don’t have any regrets and neither should they.”
Chester (9-3) had a high-powered rush offense that scored the 1st touchdown in the game, 3 minutes into the contest. It came off a 4th down, 3-yard Zan Dunham quarterback keeper during Chester’s 1st drive.
Dunham ran for 180 yards in 33 rushes. As a team the Cyclones rushed for 380 yards.
Powdersville quickly answered back with an Eli Hudgins-to-Tank Slade 50-yard touchdown. Hudgins threw a short pass near the sideline, and Slade broke a tackle and scored. A bad snap on the extra point led to a 7-6 Chester lead in the 1st quarter.
Hudgins completed 15 out of 23 passes for 223 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. Slade caught 5 passes for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Three plays into Chester’s 2nd drive, Slade stepped in front of a screen pass and picked off Dunham for another 50-yard touchdown.
Chester’s offense regained momentum as Dunham connected with Andre Evans for a 4-yard touchdown to have the 1st quarter end 14-12, Chester.
The Cyclones momentum stayed strong, blitzing Powdersville’s offense on almost every play, putting Hudgins under pressure for most of the game.
It took only 5 plays after Powdersville punted for Chester’s offense to score once more. Dunham hit Evans again, this time for a 25-yard touchdown.
Shydem McCullough rushed for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 28-12 for the Cyclones in the middle of the 2nd quarter.
Late in the half, Powdersville had a big stop on 4th down to cause a turnover on downs. On the ensuing drive, Sloan caught a high pass over the heads of two defenders and sped to the end zone. A failed 2-point conversion had Powdersville cutting the deficit to 28-18 going into half time.
Chester’s defense held the Patriots scoreless in the 2nd half. Powdersville missed the offensive spark of junior Thomas Williams, injured against Wren.
A Hudgins interception late in the 4th quarter was the knockout blow Chester needed to seal the win. The Cyclones then scored once more on the resulting drive. Dunham rushed for his 4th touchdown of the night, running 22 yards to complete Chester’s 35-18 victory.
“What I think this team did this year did so much for the school, our team, our community. It was nice seeing how we had a lot of support this year,” said Mustar.
Powdersville ended the season with a 12-1 record, best in school history. Chester advances to the Upstate championship game to face the Daniel Lions (12-0).