It was a classic game with a classic finish. The Paradise Bobcats, playing their third straight emotional game against a high quality opponent. The Chico High Panthers, looking to stand tall against the big, bad Bobcats from the ridge. What we got was one of the best games the North Section has seen in years.
Chico High converts a 4th and 17 for a touchdown in the first overtime and then a 4th and 8 for a touchdown in the second overtime to send their crowd into a frenzy. Chico High Head Coach Jason Alvistur would then go for a two-point conversion in the second overtime. Recognizing his team was physically beaten up, Alvistur in the gutsiest of fashions went for the win. When Daniel Robbins would hit Burak Karatekeli at the goal line, and the referee signaled score…..it was a celebration on the Panther side-line usually reserved for the Almond Bowl. An exhausted Robbins was hugging friends and family at the center of the field after the game. His brow furrowed, in pain, yet his eyes telling the story of a win he will always remember. I saw the disappointment and also the wry smiles of Paradise players, knowing they fought hard, but were beaten by a super-human effort and determination.
As I left the field on Friday night, I could almost sense Paradise’s admiration for what Chico pulled off. A Bobcat team that had to play Foothill, Enterprise and Chico in consecutive weeks. Knowing the schedule was bound to take its toll.
Yet, it appeared they had the game won multiple times. In overtime, the Bobcats had a chance to intercept Daniel Robbins three times, yet couldn’t corral the passes and let victory slip to the turf. You had Robbins battling a bum ankle and leg cramps, gimping his way through the overtime, virtually willing his team to victory.
Seeing these two teams leave everything they had on the field, you could only feel great for both squads. Sport, in its most raw and simple terms. Two clubs competing at the highest level wanting to win more than a hungry man wants food……What more, as a fan could you ask for ?
Chico High won the game. Paradise won honor in defeat. And, those that witnessed the game had the privilege of seeing it.