A big second quarter pulled Era out of an early hole for a needed comeback win.
The Hornets defeated Chico 38-24 on the road Friday night in a game they likely needed to win to reach the playoffs.
Era (2-6 overall, 1-1 District 7-2A-2) missed the postseason last year, so a return to the playoffs would be a welcome experience as the Hornets continue to build for the future.
Chico (0-8, 0-2) would need one, possibly two big upsets against the other teams in the district to push Era out of the playoffs. Those teams currently sit at a combined 21-1 overall, with the one loss being in a game two of them played against one another.
Era coach Terry Felderhoff said making the playoffs would be big for his program.
“It validates everything that we’re trying to do,” Felderhoff said. “Gives the kids a tangible reward for, it is taking time, it does take time, but we are making progress. It’s huge. It is huge for a program that’s in the building process.”
The Hornets outscored the Dragons 24-0 in the second quarter after trailing early, led by junior quarterback Jarren Twiner. He tied the game at 16 with a 55-yard pass to senior Kyle Greer, then ran it himself for two more scores to give Era a 32-16 halftime lead.
Felderhoff said the Hornets cleaned up the passing game in the second quarter, which allowed them to take control of the game.
“On our first possession, when we were down 8-0, we had several drops,” Felderhoff said. “I’m talking about two or three in a row, and then they made it 16-0. Then, we were able to refocus and start catching the ball. We started throwing it around a little better and making catches.”
The Hornets didn’t have the start to the game for which they would have hoped. Chico scored on its first two possessions with a pair of long touchdown runs, both accompanied by two-point conversions, to take a 16-0 first-quarter lead. Freshman running back Kameron King got the Hornets on the board later in the quarter with a 6-yard run, setting up the big second quarter.
Felderhoff said he is proud of how his players responded to the early deficit.
“The kids are starting to believe in themselves and keep fighting,” Felderhoff said. “They understand it’s a long game. We preach that games are rollercoasters. There’s ups and downs, and you gotta fight through the downs to get back to the ups. They believed in each other, and they kept fighting.”
Twiner threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 21 yards and two scores. King had 29 yards and a touchdown. Greer caught seven passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Felderhoff said it took a team effort to pick up the big win.
“(Twiner) made some good decisions with the ball,” Felderhoff said. “He had a good game, even had a rushing touchdown, threw a couple of TD passes, so he did well. Kyle Greer had (seven) catches for over 200 yards. He did well, but it was a complete game by all of us.”