With just about everything clicking, the Chadron State Eagles bolted to a 35-0 halftime lead and went on to defeat Black Hills State 35-14 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game between the long-time rivals in Spearfish on Saturday.
The Eagles scored on their first three possessions to build a 22-0 first quarter lead and cashed in on a 65-yard drive and returned a fumble 67 yards for two more touchdowns in the second period.
“We were ready to play and really attacked today,” said Chadron State head coach Jay Long, who was unhappy with his team’s effort during a 27-15 loss to Colorado Mines the previous Saturday.
“We had both the effort and the attitude today,” Long added. “All three phases of our game—offense, defense and special teams—got the job done.”
Long was particularly pleased with the Eagles’ 4-0 margin in turnovers and that senior tailback Derek Jackson had another exceptional game, rushing for 173 yards and plowing his way for two touchdowns.
With only Saturday’s season finale against Colorado State-Pueblo at home remaining, the Eagles are 6-4 overall and tied for third place in the RMAC at 6-3. Black Hills is 4-5 for both the season and in the conference.
Two long pass plays got the Eagles rolling.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Dalton Holst initially threw a short pass to wide receiver Jackson Dickerson, who made a couple of Yellow Jackets miss and outran others to the end zone to complete the 44-yard score. Fullback Matt Vargas took a direct snap from center to add the two-point conversion.
After the Chadron State defense forced a three and out and Black Hills had to punt from its own 20, Holst immediately connected with tight end Colt Foster on a 55-yard scoring strike to put the Eagles up 15-0 lead in the first five minutes.
A Yellow Jackets’ safety tried to make a flying interception of the pass but missed, Foster caught it and galloped untouched to the goal line.
The defense also set the stage for Chadron State’s third TD, still in first quarter. Cornerback Steve Allen picked off a pass at midfield and the Eagles soon cashed in again. The big gainer was a 30-yard pass to Stevann Brown, who made an over the shoulder grab of Holst’s pass on fourth down and six. Two plays later, Jackson scored from the three to make it 22-0.
The scenario had some similarities when the Eagles posted their fourth touchdown late in the second quarter. After Jackson had ripped off a 19-yard run on the first play of the 65-yard drive, Holst and Brown teamed up for another 30-yard pass, this time on third and 11, and Jackson went the last four yards to paydirt.
Only 50 seconds later, the Eagles pulled ahead 35-0 when linebacker Tyler Lewis, nicknamed “Gator” by his teammates because of his spunky play, picked up a fumble by Black Hills quarterback Ryan Hommel and took it 67 yards for another touchdown. The fumble was forced by end Tyler Kiess, who also sacked Hommel on the play.
The Eagles didn’t score again and gave up two touchdowns in the second half, but never seemed threatened that the game might slip away. CSC now leads the all-time series 56-15-2.
Black Hills posted a touchdown on its first possession of the second half when redshirt freshman Dylan Reiners, who was born in Chadron and is the son of Yellow Jackets’ head coach John Reiners, hauled in a 44-yard pass from Hommel. The Yellow Jackets also scored with five minutes remaining when Hommel ran the final three yards to cap a 52-yard drive.
A pass interference penalty against CSC helped prod the second TD.
The Eagles came up with two more interceptions in the second half to keep the Yellow Jackets from making more inroads. The first pick saw tackle Truett Box make a diving stab after the pass had been tipped by end Garrett Patterson late in the third quarter. The second came with 2 ½ minutes left to play when safety Brian Wood swiped his third pass of the season.
The Eagles finished with 422 total net yards that were evenly divided. Led by Jackson’s 173 yards on a career-high 39 carries, they rushed for 218 yards and Holst’s 11 of 22 passing netted 204 yards.
After being limited to just 100 yards in the first half, the Yellow Jackets finished with 397 total net yards. Hommel completed 20 of 41 passes for 247 yards and tailback Phydell Paris rushed 13 times for 108 yards, leading his team to 150 yards on the ground.
The Eagles possessed the ball 35 minutes, 10 more than Black Hills, and were eight of 20 on third and fourth down possessions. The hosts were only three of 16 in those situations.
First Downs 18 21
Total Net Yards 422 397
Rushes, Yards 49-218 30-150
Passing Yards 204 247
Passing 11-22-0 20-41-3
Return Yards 120 139
Punts, Average 8-43.1 6-41.8
Fumbles, Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties, Yards 6-70 8-50
Chadron State 22 13 0 0 -----35
Black Hills State 0 0 7 7 -----14
CSC—Jackson Dickerson 44 pass from Dalton Holst (Matt Vargas run)
CSC—Colt Foster 55 pass from Holst (Will Morgan kick)
CSC—Derek Jackson 3 run (Morgan kick)
CSC—Derek Jackson 3 run (kick failed)
CSC—Tyler Lewis 67 fumble return (Morgan kick)
BHSU—Dylan Reiners 44 pass from Ryan Hommel (Trey Fleming kick)
BHSU—Hommel 3 run (Fleming kick)
Rushing: CSC—Derek Jackson 39-173, Matt Barden 1-18, Priest Jennings 1-11, Dalt Holst 6-8, Stevann Brown 1-5, Kevin Coy 1-3. BHSU—Phydell Paris 13-108, Ryan Homel 12-40, Payten Gilmore 4-8, Ben Sjobakken 1-minus 6.
Passing: CSC—Dalton Holst 11-22-0, 204 yards, 2 TDs. BHSU—Ryan Hommel 20-41-3, 247 yards, 1 TD.
Receiving: CSC—Colt Foster 4-79, Stevann Brown 3-68, Jackson Dickerson 2-47, Matt Vargas 1-5, Brandon Fullerton 1-5. BHSU—Dylan Reiners 5-82, Erick Hairston-Belcher 5-62, Shandon Jones 4-49, Markez Boykin 2-24, Brad Adamson 2-12, Tanner Gamble 1-20, Phydell Paris 1-minus 2.
Kickoff Returns: CSC—Brian Wood 2-48. BH—Hairston-Belcher 3-39, Chris James 1-30, Liam Heaney 1-9. Punt Returns: CSC—Brian Wood 1-4. BH—Hairston-Belcher 4-61. Interception Returns—Steve Allen 1-1, Truett Box 1-0, Brian Wood 1-0. Fumble Returns: CSC—Tyler Lewis 1-67.
Tackles: CSC—Ryan Wood 3-6, 9; Tyler Lewis 4-4, 8; Keenan Johnson 5-2, 7; Trey Mosley 5-1, 6. BHSU—Austin Goddard 5-9 14; Isaiah Birkel 3-7, 10; Luis Bach 4-4, 8; J.J. Kilgore 4-3, 7.