Chadron State College football advanced to 1-0 (1-0 RMAC) on the year with a hard-fought 17-10 win over Fort Lewis College today on Elliott Field at Don Beebe Stadium.
Most of the game was a standoff, with only 430 yards of offense and a couple of offensive scores between the two teams combined, but featured plenty of big plays on defense.
The Skyhawks took the opening kickoff and a drive fizzled out at the CSC 48 after two first-down offensive penalties. The Eagles responded with a 19-play march to the Fort Lewis 15, where they settled for a 32-yard field goal to score first. The Eagles’ drive lasted over seven and a half minutes and included six first downs.
Early in the second quarter, FLC got on the board with a field goal of their own. They went 68 yards to the CSC seven yard line, helped by a pass interference call and a 26 yard run by Drake Griffin. Joseph Cavale booted a 24-yarder to tie it 3-3.
Both teams then endured a three-and-out on their next possessions. As Fort Lewis punted away on their fourth down,Collin Eisenman blocked Cavale’s punt, batting it into the endzone where Tyler Lewis pounced on it to put CSC up 10-3.
Right after the Skyhawks got the ball back, FLC quarterback Larry Cutbirth was intercepted by Steve Allen near midfield. The ball was returned 20 yards, setting up a 24-yard Eagles touchdown pass from TD Stein to Matt Readerin the back left corner of the west endzone. The connection was the longest play from scrimmage all day for Chadron State. The Eagles went into halftime up 17-3.
As the second half wore on, the scoring ground nearly to a halt. CSC’s Stein went deep several times, looking for Reader as well as freshman Tevon Wright, but was unable to land a knockout punch, due to tight coverage by the FLC secondary.
Early in the third quarter, FLC’s Cutbirth went out with an injury after a hard hit from Austin Powell.
With 3:06 remaining, Fort Lewis finally found the endzone with backup quarterback Bo Coleman landing a four-yard strike to Drake Griffin, capping a 14-play, 80-yard drive.
Allen and brothers Brian and Ryan Wood had key pass breakups down the stretch on the Skyhawks’ last possession to seal the win. Ryan Wood also had a big fumble recovery in the first quarter and an interception in the fourth that halted Fort Lewis drives, but the Eagles were unable to convert either into points.
Courtland Joshua was CSC’s leading tackler with 11 total stops and 2.5 tackles for loss. Nine different Eagles recorded stops for loss in the contest.
Fort Lewis gained only 264 yards in the contest, but it was still nearly 100 yards more than the 166 gained by Chadron State.
Five different Eagle rushers touched the ball for a total of 110 yards on the ground, led by 44 from Derek Jackson.
The Eagles travel to Grand Junction next weekend for an encounter with Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, Saturday, September 10 at 1 p.m.
Like the Skyhawks, the Mavericks of CMU are one of five conference opponents to get a win over the Eagles in 2015. That game went 28-20 for Colorado Mesa in Chadron.
Score by quarters:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Fort Lewis 0 3 0 7
Chadron State 3 14 0 0