After a season that has been filled with up and down outcomes, the Chadron State College football team hopes to put together another top-drawer performance Saturday afternoon when it wraps up its schedule by hosting perennial power Colorado State-Pueblo. Kickoff will be at noon after the Eagles’ 15 seniors will be recognized.
The game will be the final one not only for this season but also on the present Elliott Field turf before both it and the 88-year-old stadium are removed and replaced by sparkling new facilities.
The Eagles are 6-4 for the season and 6-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.¬† Both victory totals are double last year’s.
Chadron State is coming off one of its best games, a 35-14 triumph over Black Hills State in Spearfish.¬† The Eagles not only built a 35-0 halftime lead, but also had zero turnovers and made some big plays on both sides of the ball.
Their longest play was a 67-yard fumble return for a touchdown by undersized but spirited linebacker¬†Tyler Lewis¬†that, combined with eight tackles and two pass breakups, netted him the RMAC’s Defensive Player of the Week honor.
Undoubtedly, it will take another Herculean performance for the Eagles to topple Pueblo. The ThunderWolves, who enter the weekend with an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the conference championship,¬†have been the king of the conference during most of the last eight seasons and their 8-2 record this autumn speaks for itself.
Their losses this fall have been to West Texas A&M at Canyon 24-21 in the second game of the season and to nemesis Fort Lewis 35-24 at Durango, Colorado, on Oct. 14.
The Wolves also had a close contest with Colorado Mesa, squeezing out a 30-24 verdict for the Mavericks’ only loss, but have had smooth sailing in the other games, outscoring the foes by a 311-68 margin and giving up no more than 17 points in any of them.
Pueblo’s most recent wins have been by 49-0 over Black Hills State and 31-10 over Dixie State.
The Thunderwolves lead the RMAC in total defense, yielding only 276.3 yards a game, 100 yards per contest fewer than the Eagles.
Both teams are averaging 411 yards on offense.
Pueblo’s primary quarterback is senior Rex Dausin, who has completed 100 of 169 passes for 1,247 yards and 10 touchdowns.¬† Just two of his passes have been picked off.¬† His favorite receivers, Osha Washington and Ammon Johnson, have combined for 73 catches for 966 yards.
The top rushers are Marche Dennard with 120 carries for 916 yards and Austin Micci with 119 totes for 615 yards.
One of “the Pack’s” defensive strengths is interceptions.¬† They have 19, led by All-America candidate Darius Williams with eight.¬†¬† He’s returned his picks for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
Pueblo also had 22 quarterback sacks, just four fewer than Chadron State’s total that leads the conference.
The Eagles, who had been ruling the roost in the RMAC for more than a decade, beat Pueblo 32-0 in 2008 after that school’s football program was revived following a 24-year lapse. The ¬†¬†ThunderWolves, who reportedly used the CSC program as a model to help build theirs, have won the last eight clashes with the Eagles, including two that went into overtime.
Last year in Pueblo, the Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, but the Wolves whittled it down to 14-13 by halftime and added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one of them on a fumble recovery, to win 27-14.
Pueblo finished with just 286 total net yards, but CSC managed only 197.
The Eagles’ seniors who will be recognized are:
Defense‚ÄĒSteve Allen, Knoxville, Tenn.;¬†Truett Box, Cheyenne Wells, Colo.;¬†Nick Colgate, Nogales, Ariz.;¬†Mitch Collicott, McCook;¬†Collin Eisenman, Sheridan, Wyo.;¬†Tyler Kiess, Loveland, Colo.;¬†Trey Mosley, Fontana, Calif.;¬†Garrett Patterson, Jenks, Okla.;¬†Tanner Wintholz, Sidney; and Brian and¬†Ryan Wood, Stockton, Calif.