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A tough one to take

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By Ryan Butler

This one wasn’t fun.
The running game, which had worked so well for so many games, couldn’t get anything going.
The defense, which seemed to shut down nearly every opponent, couldn’t seem to get off the field.
And Chiefland’s rivals from the other side of the Suwannee once again walked off the field celebrating.
The Union County loss was about as solid a loss as any. The Newberry loss was tough, but understandable. The Dixie County loss was simply brutal.
Even a week later, this one still isn’t fun. Chiefland has made amazing strides this season. The story of the season is unequivocally one of great strides, improved character, playing and winning the right way.  
But games like this one show that there’s still a while to go if the Indians, who have just been fighting for a win in recent years, wanted to join the ranks of teams like Dixie County that contend for playing goals beyond the regular season.
Both teams came into the game without anything beyond pride. The Bears had already been knocked out of the post-season they started this season believing they would be a part of. The Indians, already riding the momentum from a season no one outside the program saw coming, and fresh off a big win over one of their other biggest rivals, undoubtedly had higher expectations for this particular rivalry game than any in recent memory.
By the first quarter, even though the score was 0-0, it was clear Dixie County still had control of the rivalry.
Chiefland started three-and-out. The Bears drove 19 plays and 97 yards for a touchdown. Chiefland responded by scoring on a half-back pass that might have been the coolest single play of the season to tie the game. That proved one of Chiefland’s few highlights. Later the initial cycle continued.
Chiefland punt, Dixie County touchdown. Chiefland punt, Dixie County touchdown. By halftime it was 21-7. The Bears had completed three long touchdown drives while the Indians couldn’t build any momentum.
DCHS didn’t let up in the second half. A third quarter touchdown realistically put the game out of reach. A fourth quarter interception-return touchdown added the final dagger.
Just like the Newberry loss, Chiefland head coach Aaron Richardson told his team that they could take a punch in the mouth and give in. Or they could work hard in practice, keep their heads up and play the type of football they shocked the state with earlier in the year.
If they Williston game is any hint, Chiefland will come back strong against an inferior team, this time Baldwin at home tomorrow night for the homecoming game. At stake is the opportunity for Chiefland’s first district win in over two years and a chance to secure a winning regular-season record for the first time in many years.
It’s also a way to quickly forget a tough weekend.