As one of the last remaining links to his school's state championship season, Chip Dykes was like a blast from Josey's glorious past Friday night.
With the ball in his hands and a seemingly endless supply of quickness and moves, Dykes did more than carry the Eagles to victory -- a 46-21 drubbing of Region 3-AAA rival Westside at White Road Stadium.
He reminded Josey just how fun winning can be.
"It was like old times again," said the senior, who rushed just eight times for 251 yards and three touchdowns, returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score and added another touchdown on a 45-yard punt return. "I can't describe this feeling. It's just great to have a game and win the way we did tonight.
Against a stunned Westside (1-1, 0-1) defense that looked helpless at times against him, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder finished with 381 all-purpose yards and five TDs, leading an Eagles offense that totaled 521 yards against a stunned Westside defense.
"That was one of the most explosive performances by one kid I've ever seen in 28 my years," said Josey assistant coach and athletic director Charles Carpenter, who was also with the Eagles in '95 when Dykes was a freshman. "I still can't believe what he did. It was a memorable night."
Though Dykes was a one-man force that set the tone early for the Eagles (2-0, 1-0) offense, the defense had its problems against Westside's balanced attack.
With three long drives in the first half, the Patriots matched the big-play Eagles step-for-step to take a 21-20 halftime lead.
On the second play of the game, Dykes broke loose for a 79-yard touchdown run, and later answered Westside's first touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for another score, giving Josey a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.
Westside went 17 plays and scored on their first possession to tie it at 7, and when junior quarterback Matt LeZotte found his passing touch, the Patriots took the lead in the second quarter with two more long scoring drives.
But the Eagles were energized by Dykes' performance and coach Tommy Macon's halftime challenge. The defense held the Patriots to 52 yards total offense in the second half but, more importantly, kept them out of the end zone.
"We hard a tough time stopping Westside early but we had a long talk in the locker room and the defense responded," said Macon, in his second season with the Eagles. "With the defense playing better and our speed, especially from Chip, we were able to finish strong and beat a good football team."