Don't write off the three-time defending Harvard Cup champion McKinley Macks just yet.
Senior Kevin Chillis, converted to running back from wide receiver, did it all Friday night in a 40-6 victory over Hutch-Tech at All High Stadium. It was the Macks' first victory in four tries and dropped the Engineers to 4-2.
Chillis carried 22 times for 354 yards and three touchdowns, returned a punt 64 yards for another score and added an interception on defense as the Macks scored the final 34 points of the game.
"I try not to get too emotional but it really feels good," said McKinley first-year head coach Joe Dugan. "Little mistakes have cost us the last two games, they've really bitten us in the backside. We didn't play flawless but [it was] good enough."
Following a 14-8 overtime loss to Bennett on Sept. 28, Dugan made the decision to move Chillis to the backfield after he'd been a dominant receiver for three years.
"He was the man," said Dugan. "He made it happen."
Chillis was frustrated in last week's 6-0 loss to East but Friday night enjoyed the breakout game Dugan felt was on the horizon.
"I didn't want him to get hurt but we had to make this move if we were to take it to the next level," Dugan said. "He's just one of those players colleges are looking for. He's all-purpose. We noticed we had a weakness in the backfield and he stepped up. Once he got past the linebackers it was just incredible. I actually wish I'd been in the press box to see it [unfold] from up there. He's a natural and has good field vision."
Not to mention some of the leadership skills that helped the Macks break their slump.
"What I liked was that the seniors and the captains drew the line, they said "enough is enough,'" Dugan said. "It's something I really needed to see."
Though McKinley still has a big hole to dig from, it's still possible for the Macks to finish among the final four that advance to the playoffs, what with four games left in the regular season. McKinley faces Burgard (1-3 overall, 0-3 in Harvard Cup) on Oct. 18, South Park (0-5, 0-4) on Oct. 25, Lafayette (3-2, 3-2) on Oct. 31 and Riverside (4-1, 4-0) on Nov. 8.
"At this point it looks like we'll need some help," Dugan said. "But we still have Riverside and Lafayette. We still have plenty to play for."